Smart energy experiments in urban settings: knowledge circulation and infrastructural power

Authors: Fredrik Envall*, Linköping University, Harald Rohracher*, Linköping University, Dick Magnusson, Linköping University
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Energy, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: smart city, experiment, knowledge politics, governance, knowledge circulation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8222, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this paper we analyse three Swedish cities which have set up ‘smart city’ experiments and pilot projects in different arrangements. We ask how these specific socio-material enactments of smart cities have wider impacts on urban governance, power relations and infrastructure development. In Stockholm, the Royal Seaport district with ambitions of “world-class” sustainable city development, is intended to become an innovation hub where a range of public and corporate actors create new smart city solutions and bring Stockholm to the leading edge of technology and product development in this field. In Hyllie, a new district in the city of Malmö, a vision of smart grid and smart city is implemented in tight cooperation between municipal departments and the multinational company E.on, which operates both the electricity and district heating grid and attempts to position itself also as a major IT infrastructure provider. The third city, Västerås, is place of a much more grassroots-driven experiment with citizen-owned energy supply and alternative visions of the organisation of the energy system. In our analysis we will ask how these three experiments enact different configurations of urban governance and infrastructure management. Not only are the visions of how infrastructural change can be accomplished different, but so are the relations between public, corporate and civil society actors, the type of knowledge produced in these experiments as well as its addressees and forms of circulation within the city and to other cities - in other words the particular knowledge politics at work in these experiments.

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