The arrival of governmental urban technology in public spaces – ‘Smart City Technology’ – promises to keep the city clean, safe and well maintained. The livability and even the quality of life in cities is claimed to improve according to this narrative. Although the efficiency and short term effectiveness of city municipalities seem to improve, there seem to be some serious long term drawbacks of the growing number of technologies that take human presence, communication and interaction mostly ‘out of the loop’. In our action research in the Human Values for Smarter Cities project, we have collected important clusters of warnings from citizens and civil servants against this development. To mention a few: 1) the leeway of civil servants seems to decrease, 2) the self-solving capacities of local communities is less called upon, and 3) the cultural ability to negotiate or debate is under pressure. In this workshop we will revisit the unwanted consequences like the ones described, based on two existing urban technologies: a parking scan car service and an online reporting platform for local issues. We will use a canvas and our imagination to work on recommendations to repair the existing systems and/ or structures where these consequences originated.
Mike de Kreek has a background in participatory action research and arts-based research in contexts of collaborative learning, co-creation and collaborative governance. He gets enthusiastic when academic processes are collaborative in themselves, nurturing improvements of work or empowerment of people. He is part of the project Human Values for Smart Cities which runs from 2022 to 2026. The focus lays on civic participation and engagement in articulating, making and evaluating of smart city technologies in urban spaces.
Header image by Midjourney, interpretation of the title