Working paper 10: The smart city according to the United Nations

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Over the past decade, smart cities - cities where modern technologies are used to enhance the quality of urban life - are increasingly suggested as a viable solution to urban issues. The United Nations (UN) is actively involved in smart city projects and their assessment. This paper is concerned with examining whether this international organisation with its clear public remit recognises the importance of citizen participation in the cities of the future. The study analysed the UN’s evaluation of smart cities to see whether it pays attention to citizens’ political opportunities. It concludes that the UN largely excludes residents by making little provisions for their participation in smart city-making, and that the UN basically follows a neo-liberal ideology in assessing the performance of smart city. Three reasons are discussed: the professional background of the staff; the nature of the stakeholder network; and wider smart city ideologies.


About the authors

Vera Safronova is a student involved in the master's program Urban Management and Development at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and she is a junior researcher at the LDE Centre for BOLD Cities.

Working Paper #10 - Safronova (341.52 KB)