Relations are more than bytes: Making smart cities with people at heart

Design Futures

Collaborators Royal Holloway University of London

Abstract

Working with participants in Brixton, London and Pallion, Sunderland, this study aims to better understand under what conditions smart city technologies can benefit city residents.

Method

Working with participants in Brixton, London and Pallion, Sunderland, this study aims to better understand under what conditions smart city technologies can benefit city residents.

Takeaways

We found that smart technologies can exacerbate socio-economic insecurities which in turn make individuals feel more isolated and hostile to smart city visions.

In recent years, the concept of the smart city has gained traction among corporations and governments. This concept centres on the use of the latest advances in smart technologies, hardware and ICT.

Working with participants in Brixton, London and Pallion, Sunderland, this study aims to better understand under what conditions smart city technologies can benefit city residents.

The paper reports insights about perceptions and understandings of trust, privacy and security of smart devices, and calls for digital security design that is responsive to the different socio-economic conditions in which we live and enacts relational forms of security in smart services.

We're using this for saving money, so it’s not fair that we lose control over the data. Participant in study

Discussions around smart infrastructures must move beyond the technical dimension, and also consider the richness of the social networks in which they are used – reflecting the call in HCI for reflexivity and accountability in relation to these technologies.

Smart technologies can exacerbate socio-economic insecurities which in turn make individuals feel more isolated and hostile to smart city visions.

This paper received an honorable mention at the ACM CHI conference 2019.