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Citizenship, social justice, and the Right to the Smart City

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This presentation was delivered at the Right to the Smart City workshop at Maynooth University, Sept 5-6 2017. It sets out a set of questions and theoretical concepts for thinking through issues of citizenship, social justice, and the right to the smart city.

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Citizenship, social justice, and the Right to the Smart City

  1. 1. Citizenship, social justice, and the Right to the Smart City Rob Kitchin National University of Ireland Maynooth @robkitchin #progcity17
  2. 2. The Smart City • Generally encompass three dynamics: • Instrumentation and regulation • Economic policy and development • Social innovation, civic engagement and hactivism • Many cities have smart city offices and programmes (e.g., Smart Dublin) • Well organised epistemic community and advocacy coalition operating across scales • Strong policy mobility between cities • Utilises a set of interrelated digital technologies
  3. 3. Smart City technologies Domain Example technologies Government E-government systems; online transactions; city operating systems; performance management systems; urban dashboards Security and emergency services Centralised control rooms; digital surveillance; predictive policing; coordinated emergency response Transport Intelligent transport systems; integrated ticketing; smart travel cards; bike/car share; real-time passenger information; smart parking; logistics management; transport apps Energy Smart grids; smart meters; energy usage apps; smart lighting Waste Compactor bins and dynamic routing/collection Environment Sensor networks (e.g., pollution, noise, weather; land movement; flood management) Buildings Building management systems; sensor networks Homes Smart meters; app controlled smart appliances Civic Various apps; open data; volunteered data/hacks; sharing services
  4. 4. Citizens? • But how are citizens framed within and treated by smart city programmes and technologies? • Initial critique of smart cities was that: • their framing and operation was top-down, technocratic, instrumental • aimed at controlling and disciplining citizens, as well as producing and reinforcing neoliberal logics of urban management and marketising city services • That is, the smart city serves the interests of states and corporations more than it does citizens • The response was to reframe smart cities as ‘citizen- centric’ or ‘citizen-focused’ • But what does that mean in theory and practice?
  5. 5. Key questions • How does the smart city frame citizens? • How are citizens expected to act and participate in the smart city? • How is public space and the urban commons framed and regulated in the smart city? To what extent do smart city initiatives fuel privatisation of public space, gentrification, gated communities? • What sort of publics can be formed and what actions can they take? • Does the need for order, and the priorities of capital and property rights, trump individual and collective liberty? • What models of citizenship are enacted within the smart city? • What systems and structures of inequality are (re)produced in the smart city? • To what extent are forms of class, racism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, ableism, ageism, colonialism (re)produced in the smart city? • What are the ethical implications of urban big data and smart city initiatives? • What forms of social justice operate in the smart city? • What are citizens’ rights to the smart city?
  6. 6. Key questions • How do we balance varying needs/desires in the smart city? Civic Society Smart City
  7. 7. Answers? • The answers to these questions necessitates considering: • How citizens are presently framed in smart city programmes/technologies • Citizenship, social justice, and legal and moral geographies with respect to the smart city • Normative thinking concerning what kind of smart city do we want to create and live in
  8. 8. Smart citizens? • Want to consider using Sherry Arnstein’s ladder of citizen participation (1969) • Rework and apply to evaluate smart city initiatives in Dublin and whether they produce ‘smart citizens’ • Number of issues with the framework, but still useful heuristic • Based on work with Paolo Cardullo (2017) Form and Level of Participation Citizen Power Citizen Control Delegated Power Partnership Tokenism Placation Consultation Informing Non-participation Therapy Manipulation
  9. 9. Form and Level of Participation Role Citizen Involvement Political discourse/ framing Modality Dublin Examples Citizen Power Citizen Control Leader, Member Ideas, Vision, Leadership, Ownership, Create Rights, Social/Political Citizenship, Commons Inclusive, Bottom-up, Collective, Autonomy, Experimental Code for Ireland, Tog Delegated Power Decision-maker, Maker Civic Hacking, Living Labs, Dublin BetaPartnership Co-creator Negotiate, Produce Participation, Co-creation Tokenism Placation Proposer Suggest Top-down, Civic Paternalism, Stewardship, Bound-to- succeed Hackathons, Fix-Your-Street, Smart Dublin Advisory Network Consultation Participant, Tester, Player Feedback Civic Engagement CIVIQ, Smart Stadium Information Recipient Browse, Consume, Act Dublinked, Dublin Dashboard, RTPI Consumerism Choice Resident, Consumer Capitalism, Market Smart building/ Smart district Smart meters, Mobile/locative media Non- Participation Therapy Patient, Learner, User, Product, Data-point Steered, Nudged, Controlled Stewardship, Technocracy, Paternalism Dublin Bikes, Smart Dublin Manipulation Traffic control
  10. 10. Citizenship • T.H. Marshall (1950) defined citizenship in terms of three sets of rights: • Civil/legal: institutionalised through the law, includes the right to own property; freedom of speech, thought and faith; liberty of the person; and the right to justice; • Political: institutionalised in the political system (state, regional, local government), includes the right to vote and participate in the exercise of political power • Social: the right to a certain level of economic welfare and security • Recently, added: • Symbolic, cultural: the right to express an identity, and for recognition and respect • Citizenship is both a set of practices and a bundle of rights and duties that define an individual’s membership in a polity • Important here is the notion of duties, in which membership rights are twinned with responsibilities • What are the rights, duties and responsibilities of citizens in the smart city? To what extent do these vary across cities, initiatives, technologies? • How does one be a ‘good’ citizen? And how is one sanctioned if they do not conform?
  11. 11. ‘Smart’ citizenship • The smart city is “underpinned by a neoliberal conception of citizenship that favours consumption choice and individual autonomy within a framework of constraints that prioritize market-led solutions to urban issues, reinforced through practices of stewardship (for citizens) and civic paternalistic (deciding what is best for citizens) enacted by states and companies, rather than being grounded in civil, social and political rights and the common good” (Cardullo & Kitchin 2017). • What should the conception of ‘smart’ citizenship be? • How should this be informed by theories of social justice?
  12. 12. Theories of social justice • Smith (1994) Geography and Social Justice • Egalitarianism argues for equality in terms of distribution of wealth and power across all members of a society regardless of ability and inheritance • Utilitarianism seeks the greater good for the greatest number • Libertarianism prioritises the value of the individual over the state and society and suggests that the free-market is inherently just • Contractarianism seeks to find a distributional arrangement of resources that all involved considers just (not equal) • Marxism argues that society has to be restructured away from its current capitalist base into a society where the full value of an individual’s contribution is rewarded • Communitarianism rejects both individual self-determination and state sanctioned arrangements and promotes the ideas of community and shared practices and values • Feminism argues for the redistribution of power, so that power relations between different groups becomes more just • Which one adopted would lead to different conception of a just smart city
  13. 13. Location/movement tracking • Controllable digital HD CCTV cameras + ANPR + facial recognition • Smart phones: cell masts, GPS, wifi • Sensor networks: capture and track phone identifiers such as MAC addresses • Wifi mesh: capture & track phones with wifi turned on • Smart card tracking: barcodes/RFID chips (buildings & public transport) • Vehicle tracking: unique ID transponders for automated road tolls & car parking • Other staging points: ATMs, credit card use, metadata tagging • Electronic tagging; shared calenders • Privacy harms: mobile pervasive surveillance, social/spatial sorting, anticipatory governance, dynamic pricing, control creep • Affects groups of citizens differentially
  14. 14. A just smart city? • Egalitarians would see the privacy harms & differential treatment as an affront to their principles of equality and demand that it be removed or made equal in effects • Utilitarians would treat the problem as a social nuisance that ought to addressed for the greater good as it reproduces and deepens inequalities and their long term effects • Libertarians would put the rights of private property owners at a premium and what happens between the parties involved is a private matter • Contractarians would look at the problem from all sides, arguing that if we are all unwilling to tolerate such privacy harms then nobody should and the systems should be dismantled • Marxists would argue that system that led to surveillance capitalism needs to be changed to a social democracy where people are not discriminated, exploited and alienated • Communatarianists would suggest that within a community system based upon shared experiences and commonality such a system would not have arisen and such principles need to be adopted • Feminism would argue for end to practices of discrimination and a redistribution of power relations so that citizens have a much stronger say in how such systems work
  15. 15. How do we ensure the right to the smart city? • State and corporate visions of the smart city are rooted in neoliberal urbanism and citizenship and libertarian notions of social justice • Smart city seems to be driven by concerns of control and the interests of capital rather than interests of citizens • Do participatory or co-creation approaches offer a more just smart city? • Or are they largely framed within a neoliberal approach or work at a level that mitigates issues locally but doesn’t challenge dominant political economy? • How might a truly ‘citizen-centric’ smart city be enacted? • How does one produce a more emancipatory smart city?
  16. 16. Answers? Solutions? • At this stage I don’t have a lot of answers to all the questions I’ve posed; especially with respect to ideological & normative questions • I think very few working in the smart city space do either • Most work relating to smart citizens is rather shallow or instrumental or concerns civic participation or notions of sharing or commons, but is not deeply rooted theories or normative debates re. citizenship/social justice • And that’s my challenge to you all over the next two days in the discussion — to ask and tackle deeper ideological and normative questions re. ethics, rights, justice and the smart city • To think about how we can reframe, reimagine and remake smart cities — theoretically, politically, practically — that ensures the right to a just smart city for all
  17. 17. The Workshop • Session 1: Citizenship and the Smart City Katharine Willis (Plymouth, UK), Ava Fatah (UCL, UK), Ana Baltazar (UFMG, Brazil) & Satyarupar Shekhar (CAG, India); Jiska Engelbert (Erasmus, Rotterdam); Réka Pétercsák & Mark Maguire (Maynooth);Cesare Di Feliciantonio (Maynooth) • Session 2: Urban Commons Ramon Ribera-Fumaz (UoC, Barcelona); Michiel de Lange (Utrecht, Netherlands); Paolo Cardullo (Maynooth): Smart Commons or a smart approach to the Commons? • Session 3: Co-creation and city governance Nancy Odendaal (Cape Town, South Africa); Anna Davies (TCD); Robert Bradshaw (Maynooth) • Session 4: Public labs, living labs, citizen science Tara Whelan (Limerick); Gabriele Schliwa (Manchester, UK); Claudio Coletta & Caspar Menkman (Maynooth) • Session 5: Shared city making (civic hacking, civic media) Andrew Schrock (Chapman, USA); Catherine D’Ignazio, Eric Gordon & Elizabeth Christoforetti (Emerson, USA); Sung-Yueh Perng (Maynooth) • BCD VR/AR demo/feedback
  18. 18. Background http://progcity.maynoothuniversity.ie @progcity Rob.Kitchin@nuim.ie @robkitchin https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/people/rob-kitchin

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