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Toward a Genuinely Humanizing Smart Urbanism

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 considers how to, following David Harvey (1973), produce a genuinely humanizing smart urbanism. It does so through utilizing a future-orientated lens to sketch out the kinds of work required to reimagine, reframe, and remake smart cities. I argue that, on the one hand, there is a need to produce an alternative “future present” that shifts the anticipatory logics of smart cities to that of addressing persistent inequalities, prejudice, and discrimination and is rooted in notions of fairness, equity, ethics, and democracy. On the other hand, there is a need to disrupt the “present future” of neoliberal smart urbanism, moving beyond minimal politics to enact sustained strategic, public-led interventions designed to create more-inclusive smart city initiatives. Both tactics require producing a deeply normative vision for smart cities that is rooted in ideas of citizenship, social justice, the public good, and the right to the city that needs to be developed in conjunction with citizens.




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


Kitchin, R. (2019), "Toward a Genuinely Humanizing Smart Urbanism", Cardullo, P., Di Feliciantonio, C. and Kitchin, R. (Ed.) The Right to the Smart City, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 193-204.



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