Smart Urbanism: Utopian vision or false dawn?, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Smart Urbanism

Utopian vision or false dawn?, 1st Edition

Edited by Simon Marvin, Andrés Luque-Ayala, Colin McFarlane


196 pages | 23 B/W Illus.

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Smart Urbanism (SU) – the rebuilding of cities through the integration of digital technologies with buildings, neighbourhoods, networked infrastructures and people – is being represented as a unique emerging ‘solution’ to the majority of problems faced by cities today. SU discourses, enacted by technology companies, national governments and supranational agencies alike, claim a supremacy of urban digital technologies for managing and controlling infrastructures, achieving greater effectiveness in managing service demand and reducing carbon emissions, developing greater social interaction and community networks, providing new services around health and social care etc. Smart urbanism is being represented as the response to almost every facet of the contemporary urban question.

This book explores this common conception of the problematic of smart urbanism and critically address what new capabilities are being created by whom and with what exclusions; how these are being developed - and contested; where is this happening both within and between cities; and, with what sorts of social and material consequences. The aim of the book is to identify and convene a currently fragmented and disconnected group of researchers, commentators, developers and users from both within and outside the mainstream SU discourse, including several of those that adopt a more critical perspective, to assess ‘what’ problems of the city smartness can address

The volume provides the first internationally comparative assessment of SU in cities of the global north and south, critically evaluates whether current visions of SU are able to achieve their potential; and then identifies alternative trajectories for SU that hold radical promise for reshaping cities.


'This collection of essays is destined to become a key reference point in debates about smart cities. The contributors offer a rich series of theoretically informed case studies that critically examine the discourses, infrastructures and practices that constitute "smart"; together they significantly advance our understanding of the histories and geographies of smart cities as well as the diversities and uncertainties of their governance, economics, sustainability and sociality.'

Gillian Rose, Professor of Cultural Geography at The Open University, UK, and Fellow of the British Academy

‘Smart Urbanism’ is a major reference point in key debates about smart urban governance. The rich and theoretically informed case studies on the Global North and South as well make the book a must-read for graduate students and early career researchers in urban studies.

László Cseke1, Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 65, 2016

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

    Andrés Luque-Ayala, Colin McFarlane and Simon Marvin

  2. Smart cities and the politics of urban data

    Rob Kitchin, Tracey Lauriault and Gavin McArdle

  3. IBM and the visual formation of smart cities

    Donald McNeill

  4. The smart entrepreneurial city: Dholera and a 100 other utopias in India

    Ayona Datta

  5. Getting smart about smart cities in Cape Town: Beyond the rhetoric

    Nancy Odendaal

  6. Programming environments: Environmentality and citizen sensing in the smart city

    Jennifer Gabrys

  7. Smart-city initiatives and the Foucauldian logics of governing through code

    Francisco Klauser and Ola Söderström

  8. Geographies of smart urban power

    Gareth Powells, Harriet Bulkeley and Anthony McLean

  9. Test-Bed as urban epistemology

    Nerea Calvillo, Orit Halpern, Jesse LeCavalier and Wolfgang Pietsch

  10. Beyond the corporate smart city?: Glimpses of other possibilities of smartness

    Robert G. Hollands

  11. Conclusions

    Colin McFarlane Andrés Luque-Ayala and Simon Marvin

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban