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The smart city and its publics: insights from across six UK cities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Robert Cowley, Simon Joss, Youri Dayot

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
JournalJournal of Urban Research & Practice
E-pub ahead of print7 Mar 2017


King's Authors


In response to policy-makers’ increasing claims to prioritise ‘people’ in smart city development, we explore the publicness of emerging practices across six UK cities: Bristol, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, and Peterborough. Local smart city programmes are analysed as techno-public assemblages invoking variegated modalities of publicness. Our findings challenge the dystopian speculative critiques of the smart city, while nevertheless indicating the dominance of ‘entrepreneurial’ and ‘service user’ modes of the public. We highlight the risk of bifurcation within smart city assemblages, such that the ‘civic’ and ‘political’ roles of the public become siloed into less obdurate strands of programmatic activity.

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