Open paper proposals to the (4S) Society for Social Studies of Science Conference in Buenos Aires 2014. We like to point out this suggesting panel about smart cities and clever citizens:

  1. Opening up the urban interface: The smart city and other experimental forms of ‘infrastructural politics’
    Organizers: Francesca Musiani, Martin Tironi, Tomas Sanchez Criado
    Language: E/S/P
    ‘Smart city’ is becoming a fashionable concept in urban design (Picon, 2014), designating cities governed through the pervasive use of digital devices. In line with these prospects, many contemporary cities around the world are engaging in an experimental deployment of smart devices (Marres, 2012; Karvonen & van Heuer, in press). They ask experts and citizens to either become avid interpreters of sensors’ data or engage in urban automated governance on a variety of aspects, including air quality, urban hygiene, traffic lights and roads maintenance, mobility and public transportation or urban accessibility. Thus, they contribute to the articulation of cyborg citizens (Gandy, 2005; Sheller & Urry, 2006) or citizens as sensors (Goodchild, 2007). However, beyond these top-down institutional and industrial-led projects, many citizens are also organizing into grassroots collectives seeking to ‘open up the urban interface’ in different ways. These are activist-led projects, permeated by a hacker ethos, targeting the intervention/transformation of a wide variety of urban infrastructures, articulating free-culture-like formats of public space design and use (Corsín, in press; Musiani, 2013; Van Oost et al., 2009). We believe such an ‘opening’ might bring to the fore a new ‘infrastructural politics’ (Denis & Pontille, 2013; Domínguez Rubio & Fogué, 2013). This allows scholars to counter the disembodied versions of the smart city project, and to rethink the very notion of ‘script’ considering the constant and ongoing work of intervening and maintaining scenarios and their alleged predispositions (Sánchez Criado et al., in press; Tironi, in press). This session invites empirical work reflecting on the different ways in which the urban interface is being ‘opened up’ for scrutiny through these different experimental projects. It seeks to understand and theorise the different ways in which these projects are developing, intervening and countering the smart city project – and the definition of smartness itself. References Corsín, A. (in press). The Right to Infrastructure: A Prototype of Open Source Urbanism. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Retrieved from Denis, J. & Pontille, D. (2013). Material Ordering and the Care of Things. CSI Working Papers Series nº 34. Retrieved from Domínguez Rubio, F., & Fogué, U. (2013).