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Paolo Cardullo and Rob Kitchin have published a new paper in Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space. “Smart urbanism and smart citizenship: The neoliberal logic of ‘citizen-focused’ smart cities in Europe” /doi.org/10.1177/0263774X18806508

Abstract
This paper examines the neoliberal ideals that underpin participation and citizenship in the smart city and their replication mechanisms at the European level, particularly focusing on the work of the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities. The research consisted of three levels of data generation and analysis: a discourse analysis of policy documents and project descriptions of the 61 Commitments in the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities ‘citizen-focus’ cluster; interviews with a dozen stakeholders working on citizen engagement in a small sample of European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities flagship projects; and twenty interviews with city officers and corporate exhibitors at the 2017 Smart City Expo and World Congress. We contend that smart cities as currently conceived enact a blueprint of neoliberal urbanism and promote a form of neoliberal citizenship. Supra-national institutions like the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities act at a multi-scalar level, connecting diverse forms of neoliberal urbanism whilst promoting policy agendas and projects that perform neoliberal citizenship in the spaces of the everyday. Despite attempts to recast the smart city as ‘citizen-focused’, smart urbanism remains rooted in pragmatic, instrumental and paternalistic discourses and practices rather than those of social rights, political citizenship, and the common good. In our view, if smart cities are to become truly ‘citizen-focused’, an alternative conception of smart citizenship needs to be deployed, one that enables an effective shift of power and is rooted in the right to the city, entitlements, community, participation, commons, and ideals beyond the market.

New paper: Towards a genuinely humanizing smart urbanism

Rob Kitchin has published a new Programmable City working paper (No. 43) via OSF: Towards a genuinely humanizing smart urbanism. The paper is a modified, pre-print version of the closing chapter in the book ‘The Right to the Smart City’ edited by Paolo Cardullo, Cesare Di Feliciantonio and Rob Kitchin to be published by Emerald Publishing.

Abstract

This paper considers, following David Harvey (1973), how to produce a genuinely humanizing smart urbanism. It does so through utilising a future-orientated lens to sketch out the kinds of work required to reimagine, reframe and remake smart cities. I argue that, on the one hand, there is a need to produce an alternative ‘future present’ that shifts the anticipatory logics of smart cities to that of addressing persistent inequalities, prejudice, and discrimination, and is rooted in notions of fairness, equity, ethics and democracy. On the other hand, there is a need to disrupt the ‘present future’ of neoliberal smart urbanism, moving beyond minimal politics to enact sustained strategic, public-led interventions designed to create more-inclusive smart city initiatives. Both tactics require producing a deeply normative vision for smart cities that is rooted in ideas of citizenship, social justice, the public good, and the right to the city that needs to be developed in conjunction with citizens.
Keywords: smart cities, citizenship, social justice, right to the city, future

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New paper: Citizenship, Justice and the Right to the Smart City

Rob Kitchin, Paolo Cardullo and Cesare Di Feliciantonio have published a new Programmable City working paper (No. 41) via OSF: Citizenship, Justice and the Right to the Smart City. The paper is a modified, pre-print version of the opening chapter in the book ‘The Right to the Smart City’ edited by Paolo Cardullo, Cesare Di Feliciantonio and Rob Kitchin to be published by Emerald Publishing.

Abstract
This paper provides an introduction to the smart city and engages with its idea and ideals from a critical social science perspective. After setting out in brief the emergence of smart cities and current key debates, we note a number of practical, political and normative questions relating to citizenship, social justice, and the public good that warrant examination. The remainder of the paper provides an initial framing for engaging with these questions. The first section details the dominant neoliberal conception and enactment of smart cities and how this works to promote the interests of capital and state power and reshape governmentality. We then detail some of the ethical issues associated with smart city technologies and initiatives. Having set out some of the more troubling aspects of how social relations are produced within smart cities, we then examine how citizens and citizenship have been conceived and operationalised in the smart city to date. We then follow this with a discussion of social justice and the smart city. In the final section, we explore the notion of the ‘right to the smart city’ and how this might be used to recast the smart city in emancipatory and empowering ways.

Keywords: citizenship, social justice, smart cities, right to the city, ethics

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New working paper: Smart approach to the commons? A case for a public Internet infrastructure

Paolo Cardullo has published a new Programmable City working paper (No. 40) via OSF: Smart approach to the commons? A case for a public Internet infrastructure. DOI: 7202851813

Many thanks to Rob Kitchin and Cesare di Feliciantonio for their editing suggestions and comments, and to the attendees of the ‘After the smart city? The state of critical scholarship ten years on’ sessions at the Association of American Geographers meeting in New Orleans, April 2018, for their useful observations.

Abstract – The paper advances some critical reflections, and contributes to the debate, around commons and commoning in the smart city. It suggests that so-called ‘smart commons’ – that is, forms of ownership of data and digital infrastructure increasingly central to the discourse around appropriation and co-production of smart technologies – tend to focus more on the outcome (open data or free software) rather than the process which maintains and reproduces such commons. Thus, the paper makes a positional argument for a ‘smart approach’ to the commons, advocating for a central role for the public as a stakeholder in nurturing and maintaining urban commons in the smart city. The argument is illustrated through three brief case studies which reflect on instances of commons and commoning in relation to the implementation of public Internet infrastructure.

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