Where’s Wally? In Search of Citizen Perspectives on the Smart City

Where’s Wally? In Search of Citizen Perspectives on the Smart City
by Vanessa Thomas, Ding Wang and Louise Mullagh of the HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training of Lancaster University and Nick Dunn of ImaginationLancaster
Sustainability 2016, 8, 207
Open access – free download

This paper builds upon an earlier conference publication by the authors, offering contributions based on a systematic literature review and qualitative study. The paper begins by drawing attention to the paucity of “citizen”—more appropriately, “situated”—perspectives on what a smart city should and could be. The paper then addresses that absence by detailing a research project that explored how people in London, Manchester, and Glasgow responded to the smart city concept. Participants were asked questions regarding their prior familiarity with the phrase “smart city”, their thoughts relating to what it means for a city to be smart, and what a “true” smart city might mean to them. The paper analyses and offers a synthesis of the responses collected throughout the research with the dominant rhetoric about smart cities, as identified through a recent systematic literature review, thereby providing a critical assessment of the values underlying the smart city. It aims to explore and present some of the expectations that citizens hold for their cities’ politicians, policy makers, planners, academics, and technology companies. We believe that these perspectives from citizens can be used to inform responsible development, spatially and socially inclusive technologies, and ultimately more resilient cities.