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Finding the old in the new: Locating the smart city in the national and local trajectories of urban development and management

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: Jung Won Sonn, Joon Park
Chairs: Jung Won Sonn


Discussions on smart cities have primarily focused on what makes such cities different from other cities. Questions that have been often asked include how the smart city is, or should be, different from the existing cities; how a smart city can be instrumental in civil participation in urban planning and development; what the new risks are that the smart city poses to human rights; and what kind of changes the smart city will bring to the existing city’s transportation systems and security systems. This session, in contrast, focuses on what is not new about the smart city.
We argue that the socio-spatial specificities that both define and are defined by constructed environments are at work in smart city projects, too. For example, India’s smart city boom cannot be separated from the history of the country as a software subcontractor for Silicon Valley and the long-lasting desire to provide “normal” urban conditions to increasing urban population. In South Korea, the state treats smart city as a new industrial sector and tries to use the type of industrial policies that has proven effective in heavy industries and electronic industries in the past. In China, the smart city can be understood in the context of the state’s surveillance technology as well as urban economic growth through real estate development in the past. In the UK, where the tradition of civil participation in planning is stronger and the IT infrastructure is rather outdated, the smart city is often considered a method for participatory governance and does not involve the application of cutting-edge IT. In the US where IT firms have been prominent in the economy, but have recently experienced saturation in their traditional market, firms such as IBM see smart city as a new area of business and take the lead in persuading local governments into smart city projects.
For this session, we invite papers that examine the social, political, and economic factors of the past and present that shape smart city development. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
-Building a provision approach to the smart city
-Planning institutions and their influence on the smart city
-Regime Theory approach to the smart city
-The variety of capitalism and the variety of smart cities
-Smart cities within regional and national innovation systems
-Business strategies of information technology firms and the smart city


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Ryan Burns*, University of Calgary, Preston Welker, University of Calgary, The Interstitial Smart City: Beyond Top-down and Bottom-up Smartness 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Adam Packer*, University of Oxford, Multiplying ‘smart citizenship’: understanding citizenship in Oxford’s smart city projects 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Joon Park*, , Seungho Yoo, Hanyang University, Exploring extensions of smart city focusing on ICT, governance, sustainability and decent urbanisation 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Srilata Sircar*, University College London, Melissa Butcher, Birkbeck College, Ayona Datta, University College London, From Borough Market to Ahmedabad: mapping the trans-local mobilities of India’s Smart Cities discourse 15 12:00 AM

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