Author:Casey Lynch (University of Arizona)
Paper short abstract:
How does the implementation of smart city technologies and their related discourses and policies reshape the practice of politics and citizenship in urban space? This paper considers how expanding technological infrastructure leads to the emergence of new publics in Barcelona.
Paper long abstract:
New computer and robotic technologies and the collection and analysis of so-called "big data" promise to revolutionize the way cities are imagined, planned, (re)developed, governed, and experienced (Kitchin, 2014). The rise of the smart city paradigm in urban planning and governance has been accompanied by an emerging interdisciplinary literature that examines the various plans and practices that constitute these projects and visions (Picon, 2015; Gabrys, 2014; Del Casino, 2015; Sheppard, ed., 2011). Yet, as March and Ribera-Fumaz (2014) point out, much of this literature has focused on the characteristics of particular technologies or on the political economic models that allow such technologies to be implemented, largely failing to address the role and the status of the human in the purportedly 'smart' city. This literature has thus also failed to adequately address the many vital political and ethical questions these smart city projects raise, such as: who counts as a citizen in the smart city and under what conditions? What is the content of this citizenship and how is it exercised? How are human relationships increasingly mediated by new technology? Critically engaging and combining literature from urban, cultural, and political geography, architecture and planning, and science and technology studies, my research asks the question: How does the implementation of smart city technologies and their related discourses and policies reshape the practice of politics and citizenship in urban space? To answer this question, this study is formulated as a critical urban ethnography on the implementation of smart city technology in Barcelona, Spain.
Social Studies of Politics: Making Collectives By All Possible Means