The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities


Book edited by Katharine S. Willis, and Alessandro Aurigi: “The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities explores the question of what it means for a city to be ‘smart’, raises some of the tensions emerging in smart city developments and considers the implications for future ways of inhabiting and understanding the urban condition. The volume draws together a critical and cross-disciplinary overview of the emerging topic of smart cities and explores it from a range of theoretical and empirical viewpoints.

This timely book brings together key thinkers and projects from a wide range of fields and perspectives into one volume to provide a valuable resource that would enable the reader to take their own critical position within the topic. To situate the topic of the smart city for the reader and establish key concepts, the volume sets out the various interpretations and aspects of what constitutes and defines smart cities. It investigates and considers the range of factors that shape the characteristics of smart cities and draws together different disciplinary perspectives. The consideration of what shapes the smart city is explored through discussing three broad ‘parts’ – issues of governance, the nature of urban development and how visions are realised – and includes chapters that draw on empirical studies to frame the discussion with an understanding not just of the nature of the smart city but also how it is studied, understood and reflected upon.

The Companion will appeal to academics and advanced undergraduates and postgraduates from across many disciplines including Urban Studies, Geography, Urban Planning, Sociology and Architecture, by providing state of the art reviews of key themes by leading scholars in the field, arranged under clearly themed sections….(More)”.

Urban Systems Design Creating Sustainable Smart Cities in the Internet of Things Era


Book edited by Yoshiki Yamagata and Perry P.J. Yang: “…shows how to design, model and monitor smart communities using a distinctive IoT-based urban systems approach. Focusing on the essential dimensions that constitute smart communities energy, transport, urban form, and human comfort, this helpful guide explores how IoT-based sharing platforms can achieve greater community health and well-being based on relationship building, trust, and resilience. Uncovering the achievements of the most recent research on the potential of IoT and big data, this book shows how to identify, structure, measure and monitor multi-dimensional urban sustainability standards and progress.

This thorough book demonstrates how to select a project, which technologies are most cost-effective, and their cost-benefit considerations. The book also illustrates the financial, institutional, policy and technological needs for the successful transition to smart cities, and concludes by discussing both the conventional and innovative regulatory instruments needed for a fast and smooth transition to smart, sustainable communities….(More)”.

Smart Village Technology


Book by Srikanta Patnaik, Siddhartha Sen and Magdi S. Mahmoud: “This book offers a transdisciplinary perspective on the concept of “smart villages” Written by an authoritative group of scholars, it discusses various aspects that are essential to fostering the development of successful smart villages. Presenting cutting-edge technologies, such as big data and the Internet-of-Things, and showing how they have been successfully applied to promote rural development, it also addresses important policy and sustainability issues. As such, this book offers a timely snapshot of the state-of-the-art in smart village research and practice….(More)”.

Smarter government or data-driven disaster: the algorithms helping control local communities


Release by MuckRock: “What is the chance you, or your neighbor, will commit a crime? Should the government change a child’s bus route? Add more police to a neighborhood or take some away?

Every day government decisions from bus routes to policing used to be based on limited information and human judgment. Governments now use the ability to collect and analyze hundreds of data points everyday to automate many of their decisions.

Does handing government decisions over to algorithms save time and money? Can algorithms be fairer or less biased than human decision making? Do they make us safer? Automation and artificial intelligence could improve the notorious inefficiencies of government, and it could exacerbate existing errors in the data being used to power it.

MuckRock and the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy & Law (RIIPL) have compiled a collection of algorithms used in communities across the country to automate government decision-making.

Go right to the database.

We have also compiled policies and other guiding documents local governments use to make room for the future use of algorithms. You can find those as a project on DocumentCloud.

View policies on smart cities and technologies

These collections are a living resource and attempt to communally collect records and known instances of automated decision making in government….(More)”.

The New City Regulators: Platform and Public Values in Smart and Sharing Cities


Paper by Sofia Ranchordás and Catalina Goanta: “Cities are increasingly influenced by novel and cosmopolitan values advanced by transnational technology providers and digital platforms. These values which are often visible in the advancement of the sharing economy and smart cities, may differ from the traditional public values protected by national and local laws and policies. This article contrasts the public values created by digital platforms in cities with the democratic and social national values that the platform society is leaving behind.

It innovates by showing how co-regulation can balance public values with platform values. In this article, we argue that despite the value-creation benefits produced by the digital platforms under analysis, public authorities should be aware of the risks of technocratic discourses and potential conflicts between platform and local values. In this context, we suggest a normative framework which enhances the need for a new kind of knowledge-service creation in the form of local public-interest technology. Moreover, our framework proposes a negotiated contractual system that seeks to balance platform values with public values in an attempt to address the digital enforcement problem driven by the functional sovereignty role of platforms….(More)”.

Gendering Smart Mobilities


Book edited by Tanu Priya Uteng, Hilda Rømer Christensen, and Lena Levin: “This book considers gender perspectives on the ‘smart’ turn in urban and transport planning to effectively provide ‘mobility for all’ while simultaneously attending to the goal of creating green and inclusive cities. It deals with the conceptualisation, design, planning, and execution of the fast-emerging ‘smart’ solutions.

The volume questions the efficacy of transformations being brought by smart solutions and highlights the need for a more robust problem formulation to guide the design of smart solutions, and further maps out the need for stronger governance to manage the introduction and proliferation of smart technologies. Authors from a range of disciplinary backgrounds have contributed to this book, designed to converse with mobility studies, transport studies, urban-transport planning, engineering, human geography, sociology, gender studies, and other related fields.

The book fills a substantive gap in the current gender and mobility discourses, and will thus appeal to students and researchers studying mobilities in the social, political, design, technical, and environmental sciences….(More)”.

Imagery: A better “picture” of the city


Daniel Arribas-Bel at Catapult: ‘When trying to understand something as complex as the city, every bit of data helps create a better picture. Researchers, practitioners and policymakers gather as much information as they can to represent every aspect of their city – from noise levels captured by open-source sensors and the study of social isolation using tweets to where the latest hipster coffee shop has opened – exploration and creativity seem to have no limits.

But what about imagery?

You might well ask, what type of images? How do you analyse them? What’s the point anyway?

Let’s start with the why. Images contain visual cues that encode a host of socio-economic information. Imagine a picture of a street with potholes outside a derelict house next to a burnt out car. It may be easy to make some fairly sweeping assumptions about the average income of its resident population. Or the image of a street with a trendy barber-shop next door to a coffee-shop with bare concrete feature walls on one side, and an independent record shop on the other. Again, it may be possible to describe the character of this area.

These are just some of the many kinds of signals embedded in image data. In fact, there is entire literature in geography and sociology that document these associations (see, for example, Cityscapes by Daniel Aaron Silver and Terry Nichols Clark for a sociology approach and The Predictive Postcode by Richard Webber and Roger Burrows for a geography perspective). Imagine if we could figure out ways to condense such information into formal descriptors of cities that help us measure aspects that traditional datasets can’t, or to update them more frequently than standard sources currently allow…(More)”.

Platform Urbanism: Negotiating Platform Ecosystems in Connected Cities


Book by Sarah Barns: “This book reflects on what it means to live as urban citizens in a world increasingly shaped by the business and organisational logics of digital platforms. Where smart city strategies promote the roll-out of internet of things (IoT) technologies and big data analytics by city governments worldwide, platform urbanism responds to the deep and pervasive entanglements that exist between urban citizens, city services and platform ecosystems today.    

Recent years have witnessed a backlash against major global platforms, evidenced by burgeoning literatures on platform capitalism, the platform society, platform surveillance and platform governance, as well as regulatory attention towards the market power of platforms in their dominance of global data infrastructure.  

This book responds to these developments and asks: How do platform ecosystems reshape connected cities? How do urban researchers and policy makers respond to the logics of platform ecosystems and platform intermediation? What sorts of multisensory urban engagements are rendered through platform interfaces and modalities? And what sorts of governance challenges and responses are needed to cultivate and champion the digital public spaces of our connected lives….(More)”.

Appropriate use of data in public space


Collection of Essays by NL Digital Government: “Smart cities are urban areas where large amounts of data are collected using sensors to enable a range of processes in the cities to run smoothly. However, the use of data is only legally and ethically allowed if the data is gathered and processed in a proper manner. It is not clear to many cities what data (personal or otherwise) about citizens may be gathered and processed, and under what conditions. The main question addressed by this essay concerns the degree to which data on citizens may be reused in the context of smart cities.

The emphasis here is on the reuse of data. Among the aspects featured are smart cities, the Internet of Things, big data, and nudging. Diferent types of data reuse will also be identifed using a typology that helps clarify and assess the desirability of data reuse. The heart of this essay is an examination of the most relevant legal and ethical frameworks for data reuse.

The most relevant legal frameworks are privacy and human rights, the protection of personal data and administrative law (in particular, the general principles of sound administration). The most relevant ethical frameworks are deontology, utilitarianism, and value ethics. The ethical perspectives ofer assessment frameworks that can be used within the legal frameworks, for drawing up codes of conduct, for example, and other forms of self-regulation. Observance of the legal and ethical frameworks referred to in this essay very probably means that data is being used and reused in an appropriate manner. Failure to observe these frameworks means that such use and reuse is not appropriate.

Four recommendations are made on the basis of these conclusions. Local authorities in smart cities must commit themselves to the appropriate reuse of data through public-private partnerships, actively involve citizens in their considerations of what factors are relevant, ensure transparency on data-related matters and in such considerations, and gradually continue the development of smart cities through pilot schemes….(More)”.

From smart to rebel city? Worlding, provincialising and the Barcelona Model


Paper by Greig Charnock, Hug March, Ramon Ribera-Fumaz: “This article examines the evolution of the ‘Barcelona Model’ of urban transformation through the lenses of worlding and provincialising urbanism. We trace this evolution from an especially dogmatic worlding vision of the smart city, under a centre-right city council, to its radical repurposing under the auspices of a municipal government led, after May 2015, by the citizens’ platform Barcelona en Comú. We pay particular attention to the new council’s objectives to harness digital platform technologies to enhance participative democracy, and its agenda to secure technological sovereignty and digital rights for its citizens. While stressing the progressive intent of these aims, we also acknowledge the challenge of going beyond the repurposing of smart technologies so as to engender new and radical forms of subjectivity among citizens themselves; a necessary basis for any urban revolution….(More)”.