Beyond Smart Cities Conference

Jennifer Clark delivers a keynote address at the conference on the future of smart cities


Jun 16, 2022



Smart cities appear as city governing strategies and operations of city services through digital platforms. Additionally, they are now emerging in the form of land ownership and developments, where “technology companies move beyond treating the city merely as a place to extract value from and also start thinking of it as a space to exercise domination over” (Sadowski, 2020, p.3).

Depending on the context, private tech companies interact differently with local authorities, and issues of security and privacy are managed accordingly. The “actually existing smart city” (Shelton et al., 2015) is always adjusted to the local material, legal, spatial and social context.

A common trait for smart interventions is that they reshape power relations, reinforce existing inequalities, and create new ones. This prompts a debate about justice and injustice in the smart city. As Rob Kitchin et al. (2019, p.19) argue in The Right to the Smart City, we need to find ways of “genuinely humanising smart urbanism.”

This two-day conference aims to provide time and space to question the differences within smart cities, reflect on issues of justice and injustice, analyze social and spatial inequalities through feminist and postcolonial lenses, and underline historical perspectives to situate the smart city in time and place.