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Smart Cities: Utopian Vision, Dystopian Reality
The smart city market is booming. National and local governments all over the world expect their cities to become more efficient, more sustainable, cleaner and safer by integrating technology, increasing data generation and centralising data to provide better services. From large multinationals to small start-ups, companies want their slice of the multi-billion dollars per year pie of municipal budgets and long-term government contracts.
But do smart cities even exist? And are our cities actually getting smarter? Or are smart cities a mere pretext to collect and process more data? This piece examines the reality of the smart city market beyond the ‘smart’ marketing term and existing smart city initiatives. We also consider the consequences and significant concerns emerging in terms of privacy and other fundamental human rights.