Poll and Group Conversation: What is a "smart city", anyway?

@nextgenethno, @alberto, @nadia, @johncoate, and anyone else interested, I have a question for you.

If I asked you to define a “smart city”, how would you define it?

I’d love to hear your answers in a comment on this thread, because I want to have a conversation on it, but to start off please also fill out this poll:

  • It’s jargon, it means nothing.
  • I think the idea has merit.
  • I’ve never heard the term before.
  • It means the city knows advanced calculus.

0 voters

Elaborate further below! and also, if you think the poll questions don’t capture how you feel, let me know so I can edit them for future.

@rebelethno, check out this category (Amelia’s Smart Cities Project) as a model for how we could add and do analysis on our Czech, Polish, and German ethnographers’ materials!

Ooh @johncoate, just found your conversation thread here:

I just added my project tag to the thread, so I can code it as part of this project I’m doing! :slight_smile:

I would define it as a range of assumptions and ideologies around how our behaviours should be shaped by technologies.

From a Functionalist perspective, I would understand ‘smart city’ to refer to the use of technology to make cities run more efficiently. From a Critical perspective, I would understand ‘smart city’ to refer to the collection of personal data by city authorities to regulate the lives of its citizens.

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I said in your poll ‘the idea has merit’ because the others were not close, but I would add something about the need for caution.

To me a smart city is one that uses data gathering and networking to improve services to the population. Of course it can go very wrong if a city employs a company to set it all up and does not include strict rules for how the data is gathered and used. And since those rules have not tended to be well observed, so far smart cities have not fulfilled much promise other than enhanced surveillance.

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