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Unplugging: Deconstructing the Smart City


  • Igor Calzada
  • Cristobal Cobo


This paper explores the subtle notion of unplugging to critically analyze the technological determinism of the Smart City. This exploration suggests that being digitally connected should not be perceived as gaining social capital. This article critiques the assumptions of the Smart City and proposes a 10-dimension conceptual framework. The first section of this article explores hyper-connected societies and how unplugging could be beneficial. The main subjects, Digital Natives, are discussed in the second section of this article. The third section is a decalogue on deconstructing the Smart City, and the final section presents key ideas and questions for future analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Igor Calzada & Cristobal Cobo, 2015. "Unplugging: Deconstructing the Smart City," Journal of Urban Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 23-43, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:cjutxx:v:22:y:2015:i:1:p:23-43
    DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2014.971535

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    Cited by:

    1. Justyna Przywojska & Aldona Podgórniak-Krzykacz & Justyna Wiktorowicz, 2019. "Perceptions of Priority Policy Areas and Interventions for Urban Sustainability in Polish Municipalities: Can Polish Cities Become Smart, Inclusive and Green?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(14), pages 1-24, July.
    2. Trencher, Gregory, 2019. "Towards the smart city 2.0: Empirical evidence of using smartness as a tool for tackling social challenges," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 117-128.
    3. Heaphy, Liam James, 2018. "Interfaces and divisions in the Dublin Docklands 'Smart District'," SocArXiv z2afc, Center for Open Science.
    4. Lim Seng BOON & Jalaluddin Abdul MALEK & Mohd Yusof HUSSAIN & Zurinah TAHIR, 2020. "Understanding the trends and characteristics of smart urbanism across continents," Smart Cities and Regional Development (SCRD) Journal, Universul Academic Publishing House, vol. 4(1), pages 23-35, March.
    5. Chiara Certomà, 2020. "Digital Social Innovation and Urban Space: A Critical Geography Agenda," Urban Planning, Cogitatio Press, vol. 5(4), pages 8-19.
    6. Chiara Garau & Paola Zamperlin & Ginevra Balletto, 2016. "Reconsidering the Geddesian Concepts of Community and Space through the Paradigm of Smart Cities," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(10), pages 1-16, September.
    7. Desdemoustier, Jonathan & Crutzen, Nathalie & Giffinger, Rudolf, 2019. "Municipalities' understanding of the Smart City concept: An exploratory analysis in Belgium," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 129-141.
    8. Heaphy, Liam James, 2018. "Interfaces and divisions in the Dublin Docklands 'Smart District'," OSF Preprints xbrgt, Center for Open Science.
    9. Kummitha, Rama Krishna Reddy & Crutzen, Nathalie, 2019. "Smart cities and the citizen-driven internet of things: A qualitative inquiry into an emerging smart city," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 44-53.
    10. Raimundo Díaz-Díaz & Luis Muñoz & Daniel Pérez-González, 2017. "The Business Model Evaluation Tool for Smart Cities: Application to SmartSantander Use Cases," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(3), pages 1-30, February.
    11. Daniel S. Oh, 2019. "Building Inter-Personal Competence in Architecture and Urban Design Students through Smart Cities at a Higher Education Institution," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(24), pages 1-20, December.
    12. Andreas Exner & Livia Cepoiu & Carla Weinzierl & Viviana Asara, 2018. "Performing Smartness Differently - Strategic Enactments of a Global Imaginary in Three European Cities," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2018_05, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    13. Negar Noori & Thomas Hoppe & Martin de Jong, 2020. "Classifying Pathways for Smart City Development: Comparing Design, Governance and Implementation in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(10), pages 1-24, May.
    14. Munan Li, 2019. "Visualizing the studies on smart cities in the past two decades: a two-dimensional perspective," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 120(2), pages 683-705, August.
    15. Olga Kolotouchkina & Gildo Seisdedos, 2018. "Place branding strategies in the context of new smart cities: Songdo IBD, Masdar and Skolkovo," Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 14(2), pages 115-124, May.
    16. Chung-Shing Chan & Lawal M. Marafa, 2018. "Knowledge-Perception Bridge of Green-Smart Integration of Cities: An Empirical Study of Hong Kong," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(1), pages 1-19, January.
    17. Luis Encalada & Inês Boavida-Portugal & Carlos Cardoso Ferreira & Jorge Rocha, 2017. "Identifying Tourist Places of Interest Based on Digital Imprints: Towards a Sustainable Smart City," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(12), pages 1-19, December.
    18. Tali Hatuka & Hadas Zur, 2020. "Who is the ‘smart’ resident in the digital age? The varied profiles of users and non-users in the contemporary city," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 57(6), pages 1260-1283, May.
    19. Igor Calzada, 2018. "(Smart) Citizens from Data Providers to Decision-Makers? The Case Study of Barcelona," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(9), pages 1-25, September.

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