Reclaiming the Smart City: Towards a New Right to the City

Maša Galič, Marc Schuilenburg

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

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This chapter explicates that the smart city is defined by a techno-utopian discourse, which presents smart technology as a value-neutral and rational tool in solving all kinds of urban problems. After analysing several ethical issues relating to the smart city concept, Lefebvre’s notion of the ‘right to the city’ from the 1960s is examined. While the Lefebvrian ‘right to the city’ is an utopian project, it offers an opportunity to reflect upon what an emancipatory and fair smart city should be like. We examine the current debate on the smart city by looking at three contemporary perspectives on the ‘right to the city’. The chapter concludes by describing three trajectories that could lead to a more open, flexible, diverse and participatory smart city, particularly in relation to issues of (a) participation, (b) communing, and (c) citizenship. These trajectories are illustrated by providing examples of different smart initiatives in the city of Barcelona.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Smart Cities
EditorsJuan Carlos Augusto
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030151454
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Smart city
  • Right to the city
  • Citizenship
  • Participation
  • Technological sovereignty


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