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Accepted Paper:

‘Smart cities made in Germany’  
Carolin Landgraf

Paper short abstract:

In this presentation, I want to address how discourses about data collection, data proceeding and the digitalisation of services for urban residents problematise smart city policies. I focus on so-called model cities of the contest ‘Smart Cities made in Germany’ in my discussion.

Paper long abstract:

The German federal government has raised the digital modernisation of German municipalities to a national level with the ‘Smart Cities made in Germany’ contest. Launched in 2019, the contest invites cities of all sizes to either apply with a smart city strategy or concrete smart city projects to be implemented. Cities focus their smart city strategies and projects on different areas such as health, mobility, and/or housing – depending on the city’s specific characteristics. Thus, the contest already demands an engagement with specific urban realities for cities to be successful applicants and become so-called model cities.

One important area, however, are the urban administration and the work in the city hall itself. In this presentation, I want to focus on the administrative level to show how mayors and other city employees problematise smart city policies due to the realties they experience in the city halls. These problematisations concern especially data. Data are the basis for all projects associated with a smart city and city employees engage critically in discourses about data collection, data processing and the digitalisation of services for residents. I suggest that these discourses bring to the fore a complex interplay of ethical questions, demands of residents and the everyday work and possibilities in the city hall. Drawing on examples of so-called model cities, I want to engage in these discourses and bring my practical experiences as project assistant in a smart city project in dialogue with research.

Panel Urb06
Living, reinterpreting and transgressing smart cities
  Session 1 Thursday 24 June, 2021, -