European Smart Citizens as Decision Makers Rather Than Data Providers
Urban Transformations ESRC report on 14th November 2016 Workshop entitled ‘(Un)Plugging Data in Smart City-Regions‘, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.11175.14240
4 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2016
Date Written: November 28, 2016
On 14 November 2016 the Urban Transformations programme, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), brought together a range of academics and practitioners from across Europe for a knowledge exchange event on smart cities. This workshop, which took place at the Centre for Studies, Media and Telecommunication (SMIT) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), was the first of a series entitled Bridging European Urban Transformations established in partnership with the VUB and its Brussels Centre for Urban Studies, with support from the RSA Smart City – Regional Governance for Sustainability Research Network. In this post-Brexit era, cooperation across borders and disciplines seems more important than ever before. Consequently the series, which runs from November 2016 to October 2017, emphasises the value of connections between institutions and key players in the field of urban transformations, in the UK and in the rest of Europe.
The workshop, (Un)Plugging Data in Smart City-Regions, focused on the necessity of unpacking and deconstructing the ‘smart cities’ paradigm that has been so influential in structuring the European policy agenda. The core idea that drove the discussions was the need to define the interconnections between ‘hard’ and smart’ infrastructures and the broader economic, political and social systems at the metropolitan and regional scales. The workshop was broken down into three themes: addressing new sources for data collection, storage and usage; urban expertise for citizen/user involvement; and finally, smart knowledge and expertise to tackle urban inequalities.
Keywords: Smart Cities, Data, Technopolitics, Smart Citizens, Unplugging, City-Regions
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