Uncovering the ‘Cracks’?
Bringing Feminist Urban Research Into Smart City Research
Several urban scholars have stressed the difficulties of locating and capturing the smart city, while at the same time smart city initiatives are becoming normalized and integrated in urban policy and practice. Besides the focus on technological innovations within information and communication technology, artificial intelligence, internet of things, new infrastructures and Big Data, smart cities are also about economic, sociocultural, architectural, ecological and political changes. As Engelbert et al. (2018) argue, citizens represent different interests and needs that are rarely stated in smart city discourse. According to Sangiuliano (2014), smart cities are generally not attentive to gender inequalities and, as Rose (2016) has pointed out, smart city conferences – both academic and professional- are dominated by men. Feminist urban scholars, scrutinizing patriarchal urban development, raise questions of how to develop an inclusive smart city and whether it is possible to claim the concept of smart cities for a more inclusive city. In this article, adding to earlier feminist urban theorists and intersectional approaches, we want to turn to the methodological challenges on how to investigate and ‘unpack’ power relations within smart city visions and materializations. We argue that there is a need for an increased methodological awareness within the smart city research in order to include social difference.
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