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Smart Commons or a “Smart Approach” to the Commons?

The Right to the Smart City

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

Publication date: 7 June 2019


The chapter advances some critical reflections around commons and commoning in the smart city. It suggests that so-called smart commons – that is, forms of ownership of data and digital infrastructure increasingly central to the discourse around appropriation and co-production of smart technologies – tends to focus more on the outcome (open data or free software) rather than the process which maintains and reproduces such commons. Thus, the chapter makes a positional argument for a “smart approach” to the commons, advocating for a central role for the public as a stakeholder in advancing, nurturing, and maintaining urban commons in the smart city. The argument is illustrated through three brief case studies which reflect on instances of commons and commoning in relation to the implementation of public Internet infrastructure.




The research for this chapter was provided by a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award, “The Programmable City” (ERC-2012-AdG-323636).


Cardullo, P. (2019), "Smart Commons or a “Smart Approach” to the Commons?", Cardullo, P., Di Feliciantonio, C. and Kitchin, R. (Ed.) The Right to the Smart City, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 85-98.



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