Being a ‘citizen’ in the smart city: up and down the scaffold of smart citizen participation in Dublin, Ireland
- 3.6k Downloads
Reacting to critiques that the smart city is overly technocratic and instrumental, companies and cities have reframed their initiatives as ‘citizen-centric’. However, what ‘citizen-centric’ means in practice is rarely articulated. We draw on and extend Sherry Arnstein’s seminal work on participation in planning and renewal programmes to create the ‘Scaffold of Smart Citizen Participation’—a conceptual tool to unpack the diverse ways in which the smart city frames citizens. We use this scaffold to measure smart citizen inclusion, participation, and empowerment in smart city initiatives in Dublin, Ireland. Our analysis illustrates how most ‘citizen-centric’ smart city initiatives are rooted in stewardship, civic paternalism, and a neoliberal conception of citizenship that prioritizes consumption choice and individual autonomy within a framework of state and corporate defined constraints that prioritize market-led solutions to urban issues, rather than being grounded in civil, social and political rights and the common good. We conclude that significant normative work is required to rethink ‘smart citizens’ and ‘smart citizenship’ and to remake smart cities if they are to truly become ‘citizen-centric’.
KeywordsSmart city Citizens Participation Engagement Citizenship Rights
The research for this paper was provided by a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award, ‘The Programmable City’ (ERC-2012-AdG-323636).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
The research for this paper was passed for ethical approval by both the European Research Council and Maynooth University research ethics committees.
- Clark, J., & Shelton, T. (2016). Technocratic values and uneven development in the “Smart City.” Metropolitics. Retrieved from http://www.metropolitiques.eu/Technocratic-Values-and-Uneven.html.
- Coletta, C., Heaphy, L., & Kitchin, R. (2017). From accidental to articulated smart city: The creation and work of Smart Dublin. Programmable City Working Paper 29. Retrieved from https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/93ga5.
- Cowley, R., Joss, S., & Dayot, Y. (2017). The smart city and its publics: insights from across six UK cities. Urban Research and Practice, 1–25. https://doi.org/10.1080/17535069.2017.1293150.
- de Lange, M., & de Waal, M. (2013). Owning the city: New media and citizen engagement in urban design. First Monday, 18(11). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4954.
- de Waal, M. (2014). The city as interface: how digital media are changing the city. nai010 Rotterdam: Publishers.Google Scholar
- Fuller, M. (2017). How to be a geek: Essays on the culture of software. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA, USA: PolityGoogle Scholar
- Greenfield, A. (2013). Against the smart city (1.3 edition). Berlin: Do projects.Google Scholar
- Heaphy, L., & Pétercsák, R. (2016). Building smart city partnerships in the ‘Silicon Docks’, paper presented at the Creating Smart Cities workshop. Maynooth University, Ireland. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2mjmyfd.
- Hill, D. (2013). Essay: On the smart city; Or, a “manifesto” for smart citizens instead. Retrieved October 26, 2017, from http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2013/02/on-the-smart-city-a-call-for-smart-citizens-instead.html.
- Isin, E. F. (Ed.). (2000). Democracy, citizenship, and the global city. London; New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Kitchin, R. (2014a). The data revolution: Big data, open data, data infrastructures and their consequences. London: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
- Kitchin, R. (2014b). The real-time city? Big data and smart urbanism. GeoJournal, 79(1), 1–14.Google Scholar
- Kitchin, R., Coletta, C., Evans, L., Heaphy, L., & Mac Donncha, D. (2017a). Smart cities, urban technocrats, epistemic communities, advocacy coalitions and the ‘last mile’ problem. it—Information Technology., 59(6), 275–284.Google Scholar
- Kitchin, R., Coletta, C., & McArdle, G. (2017b). Urban informatics, governmentality and the logics of urban control. Programmable City Working Paper 25. Retrieved from https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/27hz8/.
- March, H., & Ribera-Fumaz, R. (2017). Against, for and beyond the smart city: Towards technological sovereignty in Barcelona. Boston: In Association of American Geographers conference.Google Scholar
- McCann, B. (2014). A review of SCATS operation and deployment in Dublin. In Presented at the 19th JCT traffic signal symposium and exhibition. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2pdLCs5.
- McLaren, D., & Agyeman, J. (2015). Sharing cities: A case for truly smart and sustainable cities. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Perng, S.-Y. (2016). Creating infrastructure with citizens: Traffic light box artworks in Dublin streets, paper presented at the Creating Smart Cities workshop. Maynooth University, Ireland. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2mjmyfd.
- Perng, S.-Y., Kitchin, R., & Mac Donncha, D. (2017). Hackathons, entrepreneurship and the passionate making of smart cities. The Programmable City Working Paper 28. Retrieved from osf.io/nu3ec.Google Scholar
- Sadowski, J., & Pasquale, F. A. (2015). The spectrum of control: A social theory of the smart city. Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/5903/4660?curator=TechREDEF.
- Sartori, L. (2015). Alla ricerca della “smart citizenship”. Istituzioni Del Federalismo: Rivista Di Studi Giuridici e Politici, 4, 927–948.Google Scholar
- Swyngedouw, E. (2016). The mirage of the sustainable ‘smart’ city. Planetary urbanization and the spectre of combined and uneven apocalypse. In O. Nel-lo & R. Mele (Eds.), Cities in the 21st Century (pp. 134–143). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Wilcox, D. (1994). The Guide to Effective Participation. Retrieved from http://partnerships.org.uk/guide/AZpartic.html.