Paul Mason, economics editor at Channel 4 News and occasional columnist at The Guardian, writes about an alternative smart city vision: the “non-neoliberal smart city” that is currently being developed in Madrid:
Instead of seeing the city as a â€œsystemâ€, to be automated and controlled, the vision being mulled in the Spanish capital conceives of the city as an â€œecosystemâ€ of diverse, competing and uncontrolled human networks. Instead of asking: which of the cityâ€™s grids and networks do we want to automate and connect, Podemos-backed major Manuela Carmena asked advisers: what are the social problems we want technology to solve?
The result was the vision of a â€œnon-neoliberal smart cityâ€, incorporating three principles not welcome in the world of high-profit tech companies: openness, democratic participation and a clear policy that data generated from public services should be publicly owned. […]
As a result of Madridâ€™s early engagement with the smart cities concept, there is in Spain â€“ almost uniquely in the developed world â€“ a real debate about what we want technology to do for cities, and who should control the technology.