Edited by Tim Schwanen and Ronald van Kempen
Chapter 14: Developing a critical understanding of smart urbanism
Smart urbanism (SU) is emerging at the intersection of visions for the future of urban places, new technologies and infrastructures. SU discourses are deeply rooted in seductive and normative visions of the future where digital technology stands as the primary driver for change. Yet our understanding of the opportunities, challenges, and implications of SU is limited. Research in this field is in its infancy, fragmented along disciplinary lines and often based on single city case studies. As a result, we lack both the theoretical insight and empirical evidence required to assess the implications of this potentially transformative phenomenon. There is an urgent need to critically engage with why, how, for whom and with what consequences SU is emerging in different urban contexts. This review unpacks the different logics and rationales behind SU discourses and proposals, in this way understanding the ways by which imaginaries of urban futures are currently being constructed, along with their socio-technical and political implications for future research priorities.
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