School of Business PhD candidate, Réka Pétercsák recently co-authored a paper with Mark Maguire entitled ‘Where do I Begin? Getting the Basics Right in Smart Citizen Engagement Projects’, which she presented at the fourth annual Programmable City workshop.
The theme of this year’s workshop was the right to the smart city, exploring ideas of citizenship, civic participation, social justice, urban commons and co-creation. Réka and Mark delivered their presentation as part of the Citizenship and the Smart City panel. Below you will find an abstract of the paper which Réka presented.
Cities around the world are deploying information and communication technologies (ICTs) ostensibly to enhance the efficacy and efficiency of urban governance. From Barcelona to Amsterdam, cities are being retrofitted with new sensors and digital infrastructure; and from Abu Dhabi to Songdo in South Korea new cities are fitted out for the smart future. In this paper we talk about smart cities in the making and foreground the design activity through which Smart City dashboards are made. By giving primary attention to human practices throughout the creation of a digital dashboard, we outline the essential elements of contemporary citizen engagement projects, explain why so many citizen mapping efforts fail, and point to the values inherent in creating such projects regardless of their success. To do so, we introduce a specific case of dashboard building in Dublin and explore the human activities underpinning its design. By attending to the opportunities for action the dashboard offers (and to those it does not) we present the problematic points in the design process. Furthermore, with a turn to key anthropological works we ask, what experiences, meanings and values underpin citizen participation in the smart city? and allow our ethnographic study to help shape an answer.