Smart Cities: Urban Governance in the Data-Driven Society
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The vision of a smart city that uses digital technology and big data to improve urban life has received a lot of attention, both from academia, business and government. While praised by some, it is also a vision that has been criticized for being vague and dominated by a top-down approach. This study examines data-driven practices in the five largest Dutch municipalities to gain a better understanding of smart city’s logics and to identify mitigation strategies for its issues. It does so by applying a socio-technical framework. The findings show that data-driven practices operated according to three different logics: entrepreneurialism, managerialism and communitarianism. Moreover, it appeared crucial to look beyond just concerns about corporate power and privacy for fully grasping the downsides of data-driven practices. A broad distinction could be made between technical-methodological and ethical-societal issues. Finally, a wide range of mitigation strategies was observed to safeguard public interests against these issues. The interrelationships that were encountered between technology, social actors and institutional properties ultimately demonstrate the importance of taking a socio-technical perspective to understanding smart cities.