P2P Foundation

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Call for Papers: Technopolis: Smart Cities in the Knowledge Economy

via Daniel Araya:

Technopolis: Smart Cities in the Knowledge Economy



There are over 400 cities with a population of more than one million people today, and close to 20 cities with a population of more than 10 million people. Over the next 20 years cities will support between 3.5 and 5 billion inhabitants. This remarkable urban growth has created vast policy and planning challenges related to infrastructure, governance and sustainability. Politically, cities are in the midst of a global realignment, with increased authority and increased responsibility. With more political, economic, and technological power than ever before, many leading cities are introducing “smart systems”.

The concept of the smart city as the confluence of urban planning and technological innovation has become a predominant feature of public policy in recent years. Despite its increasing influence, however, there is little consensus on the precise meaning of a “smart city”. One reason for this is that the term means different things to different people. For some, the concept refers to advances in sustainability and green technologies. While for others, it refers to the deployment of ICTs as smart infrastructure. As cities grow in population and influence, they are taking a central place on the world’s stage. This edited volume focuses on a third strand in the discourse on smart cities: education, governance and citizenship.

In conjunction with issues related to power grids, transportation networks and water distribution systems, smart cities must also reckon with their potential to support citizen-driven innovation. What is the potential of smart cities to facilitate social learning in the context of next generation communication, data sharing, and application development? What is the role of ICTs in the context of collective intelligence and human capital formation? This collection explores three overlapping areas of research and practice and their impact on governance and citizenship: 

(1) Smart technologies driven by machine intelligence or artificial intelligence.
(2) Smart infrastructure in the context of user-driven public objects.
(3) Smart cities as social learning hubs that facilitate cultural creativity and user innovation.

While the discourse on smart cities has largely focused on the deployment of ICT infrastructure, there is also an emerging discussion on smart cities as ecosystems for open innovation. This edited volume is especially focused on exploring the potential of smart cities to support the “democratization” of productive human relationships in the form of user-driven collaboration. This includes social practices and institutions that facilitate open innovation (Henry Chesbrough), commons-based peer production (Yochai Benkler), and collaborative consumption (Rachel Botsman).

The design of smart cities could facilitate new forms of recursive citizenship or simply sanction highly scaled systems of control. Through affordances in sensor technologies, data analysis, and urban design, new policies and planning have the potential to leverage newer and richer forms of democratic citizenship. This overlaps discussions on education and human capital development in the context of creative industries (Hartley, 2005), creative cities (Landry, 2002) and a creative economy (Florida, 2002). Foucault’s notion of the “panopticon” (a metaphor for a “surveillance society”) illustrates the dangers inherent in too much governance. Smart technologies deployed in the design of smart cities must be evaluated with regard to the ways in which they enable (or curtail) new urban “literacies” and the empowerment of citizens and emergent social practices.

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