Smart Urbanism (SU) – the rebuilding of cities through the integration of digital technologies with buildings, neighbourhoods, networked infrastructures and people – is being represented as a unique emerging ‘solution’ to the majority of problems faced by cities today. SU discourses, enacted by technology companies, national governments and supranational agencies alike, claim a supremacy of urban digital technologies for managing and controlling infrastructures, achieving greater effectiveness in managing service demand and reducing carbon emissions, developing greater social interaction and community networks, providing new services around health and social care etc. Smart urbanism is being represented as the response to almost every facet of the contemporary urban question.

This book explores this common conception of the problematic of smart urbanism and critically address what new capabilities are being created by whom and with what exclusions; how these are being developed - and contested; where is this happening both within and between cities; and, with what sorts of social and material consequences. The aim of the book is to identify and convene a currently fragmented and disconnected group of researchers, commentators, developers and users from both within and outside the mainstream SU discourse, including several of those that adopt a more critical perspective, to assess ‘what’ problems of the city smartness can address

The volume provides the first internationally comparative assessment of SU in cities of the global north and south, critically evaluates whether current visions of SU are able to achieve their potential; and then identifies alternative trajectories for SU that hold radical promise for reshaping cities.

chapter 1|15 pages


ByAndrés Luque-Ayala, Colin McFarlane, Simon Marvin

chapter 2|18 pages

Smart cities and the politics of urban data

ByRob Kitchin, Tracey P. Lauriault, Gavin McArdle

chapter 3|18 pages

IBM and the visual formation of smart cities

ByDonald McNeill

chapter 4|19 pages

The smart entrepreneurial city

Dholera and 100 other utopias in India
ByAyona Datta

chapter 5|17 pages

Getting smart about smart cities in Cape Town

Beyond the rhetoric
ByNancy Odendaal

chapter 6|20 pages

Programming environments

Environmentality and citizen sensing in the smart city
ByJennifer Gabrys

chapter 7|17 pages

Smart city initiatives and the Foucauldian logics of governing through code

ByFrancisco R. Klauser, Ola Söderström

chapter 8|20 pages

Geographies of smart urban power

ByGareth Powells, Harriet Bulkeley, Anthony McLean

chapter 9|23 pages

Test bed as urban epistemology

ByNerea Calvillo, Orit Halpern, Jesse LeCavalier, Wolfgang Pietsch

chapter 10|17 pages

Beyond the corporate smart city?

Glimpses of other possibilities of smartness
ByRobert G. Hollands

chapter 11|7 pages


ByColin McFarlane, Simon Marvin, Andrés Luque-Ayala