July 18, 2019

Rethinking the Smart City: Democratizing Urban Technology

by Evgeny Morozov, Francesca Bria

Democratizing urban technology

Following the celebration of the “creative city” (as described by Richard Florida), the “smart city” has become the new flavor of the month—and a brand. It makes clever use of resources, and it attracts money, corporate power, and private industries. Offering us cheap, effective solutions to social and political problems, the smart city is functional, optimized, and safe rather than participatory, sustainable, and fair. However, the problem is not merely the regulatory impulse of smart technologies.

Coming from a political-economic rather than a purely technical perspective, the smart city can only be understood within the context of neoliberalism. In order to remain competitive...

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