Citizen perspectives on smart urban safety

How do people perceive, experience and react to smart urban safety imaginaries and everyday environments?

Smart city applications in the domain of public safety management (short "smart urban safety") are all around us, but are often unknown to the citizens of a smart city. In order to study citizen's perspectives on smart urban safety, it is necessary to make this concept of smart urban safety come alive to participants. This helps them get an understanding of what smart urban safety is about and how they are already interacting with it.

The project is divided into two phases. 

Phase 1: In co-operation with the City of Rotterdam, the (now defunct) Centre of Excellence in Public Safety Management (CESAM) initiated the research project ‘Managing privacy in a smart city‘. In response to rapidly expanding possibilities for smart urban governance through big data, privacy concerns are emerging both among citizens and government actors. Questions arise in many domains of governance about how to navigate the tensions between efficient service, public safety and privacy. The research project will address these issues by developing a practiced and networked understanding of privacy that allows for different situational and personal privacy needs to be recognized and met in practice.

Phase 2: The second part focuses on the broader perceptions, experiences and reactions of citizens to smart urban safety imaginaries, technologies and environments. This involves the use of speculative methodologies to confront citizens with smart urban safety as an idea, practice and everyday environment, and the use of spontaneous eruptions of public controversy around key technological enablers of smart city visions as instantiations of ‘citizen perspectives on smart cities’.


Butot, V. & Bayerl, P. S. & Jacobs, G. & de Haan, F., (2020). "Citizen repertoires of smart urban safety: Perspectives from Rotterdam, the Netherlands,Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 158(C).

de Haan, F., Butot, V. (2021). "Finding Safety in the Smart City: A Discourse Analysis with Strategic Implications". In: Jacobs, G., Suojanen, I., Horton, K., Bayerl, P. (eds) International Security Management. Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications. Springer, Cham.

Bayerl, P. S. & Butot, V.  (2021). "Smart City Configurations: A Conceptual Approach to Assess Smart City Practices and Outcomes," 2021 6th International Conference on Smart and Sustainable Technologies (SpliTech),  pp. 01-07, doi: 10.23919/SpliTech52315.2021.9566457.

Bayerl, P.S., Butot, V., & Jacobs, G. (2022). "Produktion urbaner Sicherheit aus Bürgerperspektive". In: Wehe, D., Siller, H. (eds) Handbuch Polizeimanagement. Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden.

Butot, V., & van Zoonen, L. (2022). "Contesting Infrastructural Futures: 5G Opposition as a Technological Drama." Science, Technology, & Human Values

Butot, V., Jacobs, G., Bayerl, P.S., Amador, J. & Nabipour, P. (2023). "Making Smart Things Strange Again: Using Walking as a Method for Studying Subjective Experiences of Smart City Surveillance". Surveillance & Society 21(1).



Susviews: A transdisciplinary platform by academics and artists to explore citizen perspectives on smart urban safety. 

Science Hotel/Open Science 2018: “Where do you find data in the smart city? A walk through (not yet that) smart Rotterdam”. 

Nordic Geographers Meeting 2019: "Proposing a Formal Definition of the Smart City and Exploring its Perception by Citizens”.

Studium Generale Bookclub podcast “1984 and the surveillance society”. 

Surveillance and Society Network Conference 2022: “Making Smart Things Strange Again: Using Walking as a Method for Studying Subjective Experiences of Smart City Surveillance.”

Investigating Sound Politics – Goethe Institut Rotterdam 2022: “Spitter – Digitalizing note-keeping of safety officers”