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Citizenship, Justice, and the Right to the Smart City

The Right to the Smart City

ISBN: 978-1-78769-140-7, eISBN: 978-1-78769-139-1

Publication date: 7 June 2019


This chapter provides an introduction to the smart city and engages with its idea and ideals from a critical social science perspective. After setting out in brief the emergence of smart cities and current key debates, we note a number of practical, political, and normative questions relating to citizenship, social justice, and the public good that warrant examination. The remainder of the chapter provides an initial framing for engaging with these questions. The first section details the dominant neoliberal conception and enactment of smart cities and how this works to promote the interests of capital and state power and reshape governmentality. We then detail some of the more troubling ethical issues associated with smart city technologies and initiatives. Having set out some of the more troubling aspects of how social relations are produced within smart cities, we then examine how citizens and citizenship have been conceived and operationalized in the smart city to date. We then follow this with a discussion of social justice and the smart city. In the fifth section, we explore the notion of the “right to the smart city” and how this might be used to recast the smart city in emancipatory and empowering ways. Finally, we set out how the book seeks to answer our questions and extend our initial framing, exploring the extent to which the “right to the city” should be a fundamental principle of smart city endeavors.




The research for this chapter was funded by an ERC Advanced Investigator award, “The Programmable City” (ERC-2012-AdG 323636-SOFTCITY).


Kitchin, R., Cardullo, P. and Di Feliciantonio, C. (2019), "Citizenship, Justice, and the Right to the Smart City", Cardullo, P., Di Feliciantonio, C. and Kitchin, R. (Ed.) The Right to the Smart City, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 1-24.



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