Understanding the Smart City: Framing the challenges for law and good governance

Jennifer Cobbe, John Morison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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This paper takes as its starting point the concept of “problematization; the process by which certain kinds of conduct come to be seen as inadequate, and in need of governmental intervention. It is argued that the widespread adoption of “smart city” solutions relies upon the problematization of existing cities as being ‘insufficient’ in four key areas. These problematizations are unpinned by an overarching idea that traditional cities are failing to capture and put to work the data flows that surge through contemporary urban life. The rest of the paper explores how the smart city approach responds to this set of perceived problems by developing various strategies of “dataficiation”, “dataveillance” and “algorithmic regulation” as part of a new form of governmentality. However, these proposed ‘solutions’ to the problems of existing cities themselves raise a number of challenges for lawyers and others seeking to maintain values of democracy, equality and good governance in the light of a disruptive technology that, in the name of efficiency, modernity and smartness, challenges many aspects of social organization in ways that may not yet be fully recognized by all the categories of law that seek to regulate these areas.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Le Futur de Droit Administratif / The Future of Administrative Law
EditorsJean Bernard Auby, Émilie Chevalier, Emmanuel Slautsky
Place of PublicationParis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print) 9782711030538
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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