The bulk of research on corporate smart urbanization has primarily concentrated on the technological aspects, alongside the markets and products of global corporations active in urban development. We need to question what the political, social and environmental consequences of smart urbanisation, and what they imply for the workings of city authorities and the interests of urban citizens. Smart city development holds great potential, but municipalities and citizens should not be naïve about its risks and benefits. Cities and citizens should therefore be offered a much clearer picture of its political, social and environmental fall-outs.
We need to understand what smart cities programs can contribute to solve acute urban problems as experienced by city authorities and citizens, for example the current housing shortage. From a city planner’s point of view, smart city solutions are one amongst other solutions and planners therefore need professional knowledge about smart cities in order to make the right decisions. City officials and citizens also need to remain in charge of the urban development agenda and development priorities. Complex social problems that do not necessarily fit smart city solutions, but can be acute issues for both city officials and citizens, should not be marginalized in the planning agenda.
Smart Cities in the Global South: Contributing to Cosmopolitan Urban Studies
- Claudia Fonseca Alfaro
Smart cities are here but studies with a sociopolitical lens are just catching up. In the field of critical smart urbanism, the research frontier is to explore how smart is actually being implemented and investigate the impacts on everyday life. There is little research in the Global South, with only a few studies from India, South Africa, Chile, and the African […]
Epistemic dialogues South-North: decolonising the smart city agenda
- Lorena Melgaço Silva Marques
This project will address an epistemological gap in urban studies, namely the unseemly over-reliance on EuroAmerican canon of knowledge discussing the ‘smart city’ agenda that masks specific socio-spatial and institutional arrangements shaping the use of digital technology in the Global South. Furthermore, the top-down approach to the subject also limits the understanding of how digitalisation […]
The production of smart cities: Learning from an “actually existing” example in Mexico
- Claudia Fonseca Alfaro
This project is a study of the socio-political challenges, impacts, and potentialities of smart cities within the context of the Global South. I suggest using qualitative methods from the urban ethnography toolkit to study a smart case in Mexico, Ciudad Creativa Digital (CCD), and understand it against the background of technology-driven models of urban renewal and development. Framed within two fields, critical smart […]
Smart cities for city officials
The purpose of the project is to fill an important knowledge gap in smart cities research: while our technological knowledge regarding smart cities is substantial, little is known about the role of city authorities in the implementation of smart city planning. The project seeks to critically examine the risks and the benefits of smart city […]
A critical exploration of smart housing from an intersectional perspective
Segregation, housing inequality and a growing need for affordable housing are major challenges both in Sweden and abroad. Meanwhile, private actors, often global conglomerates, offer smart technical solutions that not only promise to tackle the housing shortage but also improve housing equality, housing sustainability and citizen engagement. When social questions regarding housing are driven by […]