Beyond the 'smart' city: reflecting values in the urban environment

This is a work in progress paper, accepted to SMART 2014. It is a continuation of work carried out during the MRes summer project and will form the basis of my PhD.


The paper presents a work in progress that will develop a tool for mapping and reflection upon human values within the context of the ‘smart’ city. As the rise in ‘smart’ city initiatives and implementation of technologies within the urban environment become more evident, citizens face irrevocable changes to their environment and their lives within the city. Such a reliance upon technological strategies to fix cities’ ills and a drive for constant innovation within the ‘smart’ city is largely being driven by technology companies and city leaders. Citizens must live with the consequences of such strategies which have the potential to change their environments in momentous ways. In order to develop new technologies within the urban environment Living Labs are becoming increasingly prevalent, enabling designers of technologies to engage with multiple stakeholders, including citizens, in the design and implementation of new products. We present a work in progress that develops a tool for the mapping of and reflection upon, human values in order to avoid unnecessary technologies being imposed upon citizens. Furthermore, we seek to engage those currently driving the ‘smart’ city agenda in envisioning an alternative future where consideration of citizen’s values and the effectiveness of the city takes priority over technology implementation for the sake of efficiencies.

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