Smart cities, urban technocrats, epistemic communities and advocacy coalitions: The Programmable City Working Paper 26


Kitchin, Rob and Coletta, Claudio and Evans, Leighton and Heaphy, Liam and Mac Donncha, Darach (2017) Smart cities, urban technocrats, epistemic communities and advocacy coalitions: The Programmable City Working Paper 26. Working Paper. The Programmable City Working Paper.

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Official URL: https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/rxk4r


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Abstract

In this paper, we argue that the ideas, ideals and the rapid proliferation of smart city rhetoric and initiatives globally have been facilitated and promoted by three inter-related communities. A new set of ‘urban technocrats’ – chief innovation/technology/data officers, project managers, consultants, designers, engineers, change-management civil servants, and academics – many of which have become embedded in city administrations. A smart cities ‘epistemic community’; that is, a network of knowledge and policy experts that share a worldview and a common set of normative beliefs, values and practices with respect to addressing urban issues, and work to help decision-makers identify and deploy technological solutions to solve city problems. A wider ‘advocacy coalition’ of smart city stakeholders and vested interests who collaborate to promote the uptake and embedding of a smart city approach to urban management and governance. We examine the roles of new urban technocrats and the multiscale formation and operation of a smart cities epistemic community and advocacy coalitions, detailing a number of institutional networks at global, supra-national, national, and local scales. In the final section, we consider the translation of the ideas and practices of the smart city into the policies and work of city administrations. In particular, we consider what might be termed the ‘last mile problem’ and the reasons why, despite a vast and active set of technocrats and epistemic community and advocacy coalition, smart city initiatives are yet to become fully mainstreamed and the smart city mission successfully realized in cities across the globe. We illustrate this last mile problem through a discussion of plans to introduce smart lighting in Dublin.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Additional Information: Prepared for the ‘A New Technocracy’ workshop, University of Amsterdam, March 20-21 2017. Published as an open access pre-print on SocArXiv: https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/rxk4r. The research for this paper was provided by a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award, ‘The Programmable City’ (ERC-2012-AdG-323636). The analytical frame was inspired by the PhD defence of Michelle Maher, Sociology, Maynooth University, who employed the notion of epistemic communities to examine the politics of pensions in Ireland. Published under a CC0 1.0 Universal License.
Keywords: smart cities; epistemic community; advocacy coalition; technocrats; urban governance; city administration; smart lighting;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > National Institute for Regional and Spatial analysis, NIRSA
Item ID: 9230
Identification Number: 10.17605/OSF.IO/RXK4R
Depositing User: Prof. Rob Kitchin
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2018 15:54
Publisher: The Programmable City Working Paper
Funders: European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award
URI:

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