Maurizio maurizio.teli at gmail.com
Mon Nov 24 00:57:56 PST 2014

Dear All,

first, apologies for cross-posting. Second, I point you a session at the
forthcoming IAS-STS Conference on the Smart-City narrative and its
deconstruction. You can find details at the bottom of this email.

Abstracts should include no more than 250 words, comprising detailed
contact information, affiliation and specification of the *session* you are
referring to. In this case, *SESSION 17: DE-CONSTRUCTING THE SMART CITY,

Abstracts should be sent to Michaela Jahrbacher (sts-conf-graz at aau.at )
until *January 15**, 2015* as a *DOC/DOCX-file*.

More information about the conference:

Thanks for you attention and I hope to see you in Gratz




*Michela Cozza, Giusi Orabona, Giacomo Poderi, Maurizio Teli*, Department
of Information Engineering and Computer Sciences (DISI), University of
Trento, Italy

Since nearly a decade, the idea of a “Smart City” strongly emerged and
rapidly spread in urban planning, political discourse and academia in
general. As any successful term, its widespread adoption has attributed it
many meanings, almost overlapping with the idea of having digital
technologies distributed in the urban environment. On the one hand, such
distribution seems to favour the city management related to the transit,
traffic and provision of localized services. On the other hand, it could be
interpreted as a program of control of the population by the big
corporations of the ICT domain (Greenfield 2013).

Nevertheless, we are already witnessing tentative appropriations and
applications of the “Smart City” ideal into several specific domains which
concern urban life: from transportation to welfare services, from active
ageing to energy management. As already noted in one of the first and
pivotal works on Smart Cities (Hollands, 2008), this concept is usually
vaguely defined, biased towards the ICT dimension of urban developments,
and often portrayed with enthusiastic, uncritical and entrepreneurial
rhetoric. In summary, the concept of “Smart City” hides urban life behind
the (often physical) screens of technological efficiency and monitoring
social practices.

As described, the picture of the “Smart City” is signed by technological
determinism, an ideological commitment privileging the private sector,
social polarization as an inevitable by-product, missing concerns with
class inequality, inclusion and social justice, and the almost clear
neo-liberal attempt to incorporate local communities into the
entrepreneurial discourse. Such discourse needs to be de-constructed and
re-assembled in order to leave space for a more socially aware, distributed
effort, that is actually empowering people more than the powerful actor at
the political and economic level.

Therefore, we welcome contributions that critically examines the concept of
a “Smart City” at one or both of the two following levels. At the
theoretical level, where the different dimensions and elements of “Smart
City” such as ICT, urban planning, societal challenges, are defined,
analysed and discussed in relationship to state-of-the-art developments and
their respective domains of application (e.g. energy, mobility). At the
empirical and practical level, where the actual efforts of designing,
implementing and deploying plans for smart cities are critically described,
reviewed or assessed. In particular, we welcome contributions able to point
at how the “Smart City” can be de-constructed and re-assembled in a more
democratic way, supporting urban life instead of neo-liberal narratives.

Ultimately, we welcome contributions that look at the “Smart City” from the
viewpoints both of the citizens and professionals: reflections that discuss
how citizens’ identity and professional practices take part in the
construction of the idea of “smartness” are appreciated.

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