Designing the Smart City: A Programmatic Approach to Inclusive Innovation in Atlanta [External]


This week, CUI Director Dr. Jennifer Clark had a post published in the Atlanta Studies blog. Atlanta Studies is “is an open access, digital publication of the Atlanta Studies Network,” which includes students, instructors, and researchers from Emory University, Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Clark Atlanta University, Kennesaw State University, the Atlanta History Center, and the New Georgia Encyclopedia. Dr. Clark’s post, “Designing the Smart City: A Programmatic Approach to Inclusive Innovation in Atlanta,” discusses the emerging range of smart city interventions, and uses several examples from Atlanta, including the MetroLab Network and North Avenue Smart Corridor, and its role in the smart cities story to explain these important larger developments.

Smart cities are about sustainable economic development in the future – not just autonomous vehicles like the one that took a test drive on the North Avenue Corridor on September 14 – and that requires a programmatic approach to technological change, not just one, discrete technology project. In my forthcoming book on smart cities, Making Smart Cities: Innovation and the Production of New Urban Knowledge (Columbia University Press) I analyze smart cities from several vantage points. First, I discuss smart cities as a set of technocratic solutions to urban policy challenges – projects, programs, and products. Second, I describe how smart cities operate as emerging markets for new technologies. Third, I describe how smart cities are developing as a new form of urban entrepreneurship focused on marketing cities in a competitive global economy. Fourth, I explain how smart cities act as a mechanism for exacerbating uneven development. Fifth, I illustrate how smart cities are developed through distributed networks for innovative governance. And finally, I analyze the potential of smart cities as a means for increased civic engagement and open innovation. I argue that technology development is the easy part; it is the design for and deployment into this increasingly liminal space – twenty-first century US cities – where governance, regulation, access, participation, and representation are all complex and highly localized, that is the real challenge.
Atlanta is a key example of this challenge and underscores the importance of partnerships in the design and deployment of smart cities programs and policies.

To read the article in full, please visit its Atlanta Studies page.

To learn more about the North Avenue Smart Corridor, see the video below.