Smartness? Between Discourse and Practice

'Smart' Urban Heritage Management

Linda Shetabi: University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Lucille Tetley-Brown: University of Glasgow, United Kingdom


KEYWORDS: Urban, Heritage, Management, Historic, Conservation

The historic fabric which represents a city’s evolution and development is increasingly viewed as a set of assets that enhance the urban experience. These assets can create a sense of place, foster stronger communities, or help define unique identities that boost the urban economy by attracting investment in businesses, urban renewal projects and redevelopment opportunities. However, the unprecedented rise in urbanization trends has placed increased pressures on cities to utilize resources more efficiently, balancing development needs and carbon reduction targets while maintaining some of the historic fabric. It has therefore become imperative to manage heritage assets effectively and sensitively so that these continue to retain value and remain relevant to current and future generations.

This session aims to explore how urban heritage can be managed and maintained in a smart city. The range of questions the session seeks to explore includes, but is not limited to: How might smart technologies inform heritage policy? What smart tools are currently used and how have they assisted in managing urban heritage? How do these tools and technologies connect the intangible values associated with historic fabric to an increasing global population? How can information communication technologies, internet applications and other smart tools be used in view of budgetary constraints? What lessons have been learned and how can they be used to inform urban policy for an increasingly mixed range of pre- and post-1940’s urban fabric?


Making the City Smart Together

Jonas Breuer: imec-SMIT/Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Shenja Van der Graaf: imec-SMIT/Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium


KEYWORDS: Smart City, Smart Citizenship, Participatory Design, Co-creation

With the recent ‘smartening up’ of our cities, and public sphere generally, ICT in its various manifestations has become paramount to the governance, operation and experience of the urban. ICT, increasingly associated or interchangeably used with algorithms and artificial intelligence, draws attention to how public space is ‘translated’ into ‘code’, and how ‘code’ is said to ‘reshape’ public sphere (Kicthin, Dodge, 2011). In this view, the smart city imaginary, with a distinct set of rationalities, has become a recurring theme within critical urban geography (White, 2016; cf. Mansell, 2012), centre-staging digital technologies to tackle complex urban issues with a focus on pragmatic and functional aspects related to efficiency, safety and the like, conjoined by questions and critiques about privacy, control and ownership, but shaped mainly by mere solutionist visions unable to address the underlying complexity of issues at hand.

Against this backdrop, we seek to further the critical debate about smart citizenship and the role of citizens, urging cities and governments, at minimum, to anticipate and mitigate (un)intended consequences when the ‘human outlook’ is downplayed. We put forward the notions of participatory design and co-creation to further investigate what we consider to be a weakness in understanding today’s smart cities. A structured perspective is missing on how to systematically involve citizens, and achieve an equilibrium between diverse interests involved in the complex multi-actor and multi-sector setting of the city. Here, assigning an active, co-equal and structural role to all actors remains challenging in practice, despite the wide range of available technologies and digital public services.

This session seeks to discuss systematical involvement of citizens through participatory design and co-creation approaches. We encourage participants to explore existing concepts, propose new ones at a theoretical level, or to present a meaningful empirical case study that showcases the application of a related concept.


Open Session

Sergio M. Figueiredo: Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Sukanya Krishnamurthy: Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Torsten Schröder: Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands


Do you have a paper regarding the presence of smart systems in architecture and urbanism that you would like to present you don't think it could fit any of the themed sessions? We invite you to submit an abstract for a paper to be presented at the conference's Open Session.