Citizenship in the smart city

The suite of smart city standards recently published by the British Standards Institute attempts to legitimise smart city developments by placing citizens at the centre of them. Working with Simon Joss and Youri Dayot from the University of Westminster, I analysed the standards to try to figure out how citizenship might evolve in the smart city. Our work shows (see link below) that within the standards, smart cities are cast as virtual business infrastructure based on customer needs with citizens co-opted into city information market places. Such developments may increase citizen’s agency by giving them greater control over services (e.g. transport, healthcare, energy) which support their daily lives.   However, this vision lacks a sense of collective endeavour and underlying questions concerned with for example, public choice, social justice and sustainable development, seem to be marginalised and not open for deliberation and public scrutiny.   Thus there are multiple tensions and contradictions which may arise with citizenship in the smart city.   Perhaps cities are pretty smart anyway and we should be critical of smart city designs, which may render them less so.

 

An output of my work on the Smart City Standards can be found here http://oro.open.ac.uk/49129/

 

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