Germaine Halegoua keynote at the Beyond Smart Cities Today conference in June 2022, Sweden.

June 30, 2022

Re-placeing the Smart City

Smart cities project particular imaginaries and aspirations of urban transformation. The most prevalent visions of “smart” urban futures are selective in who they serve, how they are generated, and what types of data, knowledge, and expertise are consulted to interpret and reproduce the city. Too often, these visions lose sight of the work people do to make sense of their environments, their agency in producing a sense of belonging and equity, their experiences of difference and power, and how the urban futures promised in smart city development may conflict with the futures strived for and desired on the ground. Shared conceptions across “actually existing” and emerging smart cities reveal limited understandings of the city as an inhabited place as well as several missed opportunities to become more critically attuned to the urban places we create. The smart city, as it currently stands, needs to be re-placed. What methods do we already have, or can we forge, to move beyond the smart city or see it anew?

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