The challenge of how cities can best be designed and developed in an inclusive and sustainable direction is monumental. Smart city technologies currently offer the most promising solution to creating a long-term sustainable urban environment. However, smart city projects have been criticised for being based on a technology-centric, top-down vision of the urban space. In this vision, citizens are often less visible, or the needs of certain groups of citizens are taken as the norm. These visions risk excluding other bodies, lives and needs.Taking careful account of the diversity of human needs has the benefit not only of making urban spaces comfortable and safe for more people, but also of improving chances of new technologies being adopted by the whole community.
In this project, an experienced interdisciplinary team will engage with citizens, technical developers and “top down” stakeholders around a smart city test site in Norrköping, Sweden. The test site comprises a 1km length of road in a busy area of the city, along which a variety of static and mobile sensors will be placed to gather data about the environment during 2019-2021. By integrating STS-inspired in-depth ethnographic work with the technical team and a series of Living Labs with users of the space, this project will create dialogue between citizens and the technical team as they collaborate on developing a prototype app for collecting data based on citizens’ needs.
This project is financed by Formas, and will run 2020-2022.