Research event

Smart cities and smart citizens

A presentation by Paolo Cardullo (School of Business at Maynooth University). A session of the Organization and Management Research Colloquium on Innovation in the Public Sphere.

Prior registration is not required. Refreshments will be served.

Reacting to critiques that the smart city is overly technocratic and instrumental, companies and cities have reframed their initiatives as ‘citizen-centric’. However, what ‘citizen-centric’ means in practice is rarely articulated. Instead, the neoliberal ideals that underpin participation in the smart city and their replication mechanisms at European level suggest that smart cities, as currently conceived, promote a form of neoliberal citizenship. Most ‘citizen-centric’ smart city initiatives are in fact rooted in stewardship, civic paternalism, and a neoliberal conception of citizenship that prioritizes consumption choice and individual autonomy within a framework of state and corporate defined constraints that prioritize market-led solutions to urban issues. Thus, if smart cities are to become truly ‘citizen-focused’ an alternative conception of smart citizenship needs to be deployed, one that enables an effective shift of power and is rooted in rights, entitlements, community, participation, commons, and ideals beyond the market.

Paolo Cardullo is currently working as postdoctoral researcher in the field of data ethics in Industry 4.0 as part of CONFIRM, at the School of Business at Maynooth University of Ireland. Previously (2016-18), he was a researcher on The Programmable City project at National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), Maynooth University. He gained his PhD at the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he also worked as Associate Lecturer (2013-16).