(Smart) City and the (Open) Data. A Critical Approach to a Platform-driven Urban Citizenship


This paper represents a first attempt to reconstruct a theoretical map of the relation between technology (digital media) and citizenship. We start from the reconstruction of the role of citizens in the smart city paradigm and then face the challenge that the so-called Big Techs move to the ideal of an engaged "smart community" by promoting an individual relationship between users/citizens and digital platforms. Finally, we present two emerging participation paradigms concerning Data Activism and Cooperativism, which seem to represent relevant fields for experiencing (and observing) the agency of a future, networked citizenship.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v13i2p1168

Keywords: Citizen Participation; Digital Platforms; Smart City; Technology; Urban Experience


Alaimo C., Kallinikos J. (2017), “Computing the everyday: Social media as data platforms”, The Information Society, 33(4): 175-191.

Albino V., Berardi U., Dangelico R. M. (2015), “Smart cities: Definitions, dimensions, performance, and initiatives”, Journal of urban technology, 22(1): 3-21.

Arvidsson A. (2020), “Capitalism and the Commons”, Theory, Culture & Society, 37(2): 3–30.

Bakardjieva M. (2019), “A Tale of Three Platforms: Collaboration, Contestation, and Degrees of Audibility in a Bulgarian e-Municipality”, International Journal of Communication, 13(2019): 5652–5670.

Barns S. (2020), Platform Urbanism. Negotiating Platform Ecosystems in Connected Cities, Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan.

Baym N.K. (2015), Personal connections in the digital age (2nd Ed.), Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Boorsma B. (2018), Un new deal digitale. Oltre le Smart Cities. Come impiegare al meglio la Digitalizzazione al servizio delle nostre Comunità, Rainmaking Publications.

Bria F., Morozov E. (2018), Ripensare la smart city, Torino. Codice Edizioni.

Bruni A., Esposito F.M. (2019), “It Obliges You to Do Things You Normally Wouldn't: Organizing and Consuming Private Life in the Age of Airbnb”, Partecipazione e Conflitto, 12(3): 665-690.

Bryan C., Tambini D., Tsagarousianou R. (Eds.) (1998), Cyberdemocracy: Technology, cities and civic networks, New York: Routledge.

Bunders D.J., Varró K. (2019), “Problematizing data-driven urban practices: Insights from five Dutch ‘smart cities’”, Cities, 93: 145–152.

Coglianese C. (2009), “The transparency president? The Obama administration and open government”, Governance, 22(4): 529-544.

Di Bella, A. (2016), “La IBM smart city come prodotto della neoliberalizzazione della responsabilità d’impresa”, Rivista Geografica Italiana, 123: 21-36

Foth M., Brynskov M., Ojala T. (Eds 2015), Citizen’s Right to the Digital City: Urban Interfaces, Activism, and Placemaking, Singapore: Springer.

Fuchs C., Sandoval M. (2014), “Digital Workers of the World Unite! A Framework for Critically Theorising and Analysing Digital Labour”, tripleC, 12(2): 486–563.

Gillespie T. (2010), “The politics of ‘platforms’”, New Media & Society, 12(3): 347-364.

Guttentag D. (2015), “Airbnb: Disruptive Innovation and the Rise of an Informal Tourism Accommodation Sector”, Current Issues in Tourism, 18(12): 1192-1217.

Harvey D. (1989), “From managerialism to entrepreneurialism. The transformation in urban governance in late capitalism”, Geografiska Annaler, Series B, Human Geography 71(1): 3-17.

Hatuka T., Rosen-Zvi I, Birnhack M., Toch E., Zur H. (2019), “The Political Premises of Contemporary Urban Concepts: The Global City, the Sustainable City, the Resilient City, the Creative City, and the Smart City”, Planning Theory & Practice, 19(2): 160-179.

Hollands R. (2008), “Will the real smart city please stand up? Intelligent, progressive or entrepreneurial?”, City, 12(3): 303-320.

Kalleberg A.L., Vallas S.P. (Eds 2017), Precarious Work, Bingley: Emerald Publishing.

King J. (2006), “Openness and its discontents”, in J. Dean, J. W. Anderson and G. Lovink (Eds.), Reformatting politics: Information technology and global civil society, New York: Routledge, pp. 43-54.

Komninos, N. (2008), Intelligent cities and globalisation of innovation networks, New York: Routledge.

Irani L. (2015), “Difference and Dependence among Digital Workers: The Case of Amazon Mechanical Turk”, South Atlantic Quarterly, 114(1): 225-234.

Lefebvre H. (1968), Le Droit à la ville, Paris: Anthropos.

Lessig L. (2009), “Against transparency. The New Republic”. Available at: https://newrepublic.com/article/70097/against-transparency

Linders D. (2012), “From E-Government to We-Government: Defining a Typology for Citizen Coproduction in the Age of Social Media”, Government Information Quarterly, 29(4): 446–454.

Magaudda P. (2014), “Digitalizzazione e consumi culturali in italia. Mercati, infrastrutture e appropriazione delle tecnologie mediali”, Polis, 28(3): 417-438.

Marinelli A., Parisi S. (2019), “Culture urbane connesse. Tecnologie, creatività e socialità oltre la metropoli smart”, in R. Andò, A.L. Farro, A. Marinelli, S. Parisi (Eds.) Reti creative. Pratiche e spazi di attivazione culturale a Roma, Milano: Guerini e Associati, pp. 37-59.

Massidda L., Parisi S. (2016), “Too big, will fail. Megaevents and Protest Participation”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 9(3): 949-980.

McNeill D. (2015), “Global Firms and Smart Technologies: IBM and the Reduction of Cities”, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 40 (4): 562-574.

Meijera A., Potjerb S. (2018), “Citizen-generated open data: An explorative analysis of 25 cases”, Government Information Quarterly, 35: 613-621.

Menychtas A., Kranas P., Donovang-Kulisch M., Heindrichs-Krusch M., Coote R., Schade U.,Osman K., Kallipolitis L., Van Der Graf S., Brebels W., Coenen T., Rana P., Perennez P. (2011), European Commission, ICT Policy Support Programme. Online service delivery baseline and technical requirements report (D2.3 B). European Platform for Intelligent Cities (EPIC) Consortium.

Meijer A., Potjer S. (2018), “Citizen-generated open data: An explorative analysis of 25 cases”, Government Information Quarterly, 35: 613–621.

Milan S. (2017), “Data Activism as the New Frontier of Media Activism”, in G. Yang and V. Pickard (Eds.) Media Activism in the Digital Age, London: Routledge, pp. 151-163.

O'Reilly, T. (2010) “Government as a platform”, in D. Lathrop, L. Ruma (Eds.), Open government: Collaboration, transparency, and participation in practice, Cambridge: O'Reilly Media.

Obama B. (2009), “Transparency and open government”. Available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment/

Paltrinieri R., Parmiggiani P. (2017), “Pratiche di riduzione dello spreco alimentare”, in L. Bovone, C. Lunghi (Eds.), Resistere. Innovazione e vita quotidiana, Roma: Donzelli Editore, pp. 39-63.

Parisi L. (2018), Where 2.0. Media digitali ed esperienza del luogo, Milano: Guerini e Associati.

Parisi S. (2018), “City as a platform. La politica di Airbnb e i suoi effetti su spazi e culture delle città”, DigitCult. Scientific Journal on Digital Cultures, 3(3): 139-152.

Paroutis S., Bennett M., Heracleous L. (2014), “A strategic view on smart city technology: The case of IBM Smarter Cities during a recession”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 89: 262–272.

Peck J. (2012), “Recreative city. Amsterdam, vehicular ideas and the adaptive spaces of creativity policy”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 36(2): 462-85.

Plantin J.-C., Lagoze, C., Edwards P.N. and Sandvig C. (2016), “Infrastructure studies meet platform studies in the age of Google and Facebook”, New Media & Society, 2018, 20(1): 293–310.

Pulignano V. (2019), “Work and employment under the gig economy”, Partecipazione e Conflitto, 12(3): 629-639.

Rabari C., Storper M.(2015), “The digital skin of cities: urban theory and research in the age of the sensored and metered city, ubiquitous computing and big data”, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8: 27–42.

Rheingold H. (2002), Smart Mobs. The Next Social Revolution, New York: Basic Books.

Roche M. (2017), Mega-events and social change. Spectacle, legacy and public culture, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Ruijer E., Grimmelikhuijsen S. and Meijer A. (2017), “Open data for democracy: Developing a theoretical framework for open data use”, Government Information Quarterly, 34(1): 45-52.

Scholz T. (2016a), Uberworked and Underpaid: How Workers Are Disrupting the Digital Economy, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Scholz T. (2016b), Platform Cooperativism. Challenging the Corporate Sharing Economy, New York Office: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

Schor J., Fitzmaurice J. (2015), “Collaborating and connecting. The emergence of the Sharing Economy”, in L. Reisch, J. Thogersen (Eds.), Handbook on Research on sustainable Consumptions, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 410-424.

Schrock A.R. (2016), “Civic hacking as data activism and advocacy: A history from publicity to open government data”, New Media & Society, 18(4): 581 –599.

Sieber R.E., Johnson P.A. (2015), “Civic open data at a crossroads: Dominant models and current challenges”, Government Information Quarterly, 32: 308–315.

Slee T. (2012), “Why the ‘open data movement’ is a joke”. Available at: http://whimsley.typepad.com/whimsley/2012/05/why-the-open-data-movement-is-a-joke.html

Söderström O., Paasche T., Klauser F. (2014), “Smart cities as corporate storytelling”, City, 18(3):307-320.

Srnicek N. (2017), Platform Capitalism, London: Polity Press.

Townsend A.M. (2013), Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, London: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd.

Tuters M., Varnelis K. (2006), “Beyond Locative Media”, Leonardo, 39(4): 357-363.

van der Graaf S., Ballon, P. (2018), “Navigating platform urbanism”, Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 142(2019): 364–372.

van Dijck J., Poell T., de Waal M. (2018), The Platform Society. Public

Values in a Connective World, Oxformd: Oxford University Press; trad. it. G. Boccia Artieri, A. Marinelli (Eds.) Platform Society. Valori pubblici e società connessa, Milano: Guerini e Associati, 2019.

Vanolo A. (2014), “Smartmentality: the smart city as disciplinary strategy”, Urban Studies, 51:883-898.

Vanolo A. (2016), “Is there anybody out there? The place and role of citizens in tomorrow’s smart cities”, Futures, 82: 26-36.

Wilken R., Goggin, G. (Eds.) (2014), Locative media, New York: Routledge.

Willis K. S., Aurigi A. (2018), Digital and smart cities, New York: Routledge.

Wood, A.J., Graham M., Lehdonvirta V., Hjorth I., (2019), “Networked but commodified: the (dis)embeddedness of digital labour in the gig economy”, Sociology, 53(5), pp. 931–950.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.