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Beyond Smart and Data-Driven City-Regions? Rethinking Stakeholder-Helixes Strategies


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This paper is a report on the recent special session of papers presented at the Regional Studies Association (RSA) Annual Conference in Dublin, entitled ‘Beyond Smart & Data-Driven City-Regions: Rethinking Stakeholder-Helixes Strategies’. The session was a collaboration between the Urban Transformations ESRC programme at the University of Oxford and the Future Cities Catapult.
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Issn: 1367-3882
NO 308, 2017 ISSUE 4
Regions 308 Autumn 2017 Research Notes
planning certainly has an infl uence, but
it is highly fragmented and disjointed.
Moreover, there is discussion of various
forms of tax measures to better manage
land, but the possibility of pursuing a
fundamentally different approach is never
really discussed. The overall result is that
Dublin is anything but an example of ‘the
good geography’ seen by Cox (2017) as
befi tting European contexts.
iNational Asset Management Agency
(NAMA) was established by the Irish
Government in 2009 in order to take
over the non-performing loans of key
banking institutions in Ireland. NAMA
paid 30.2 billion for loans from five
key institutes. The value of these loans
was put at 71.2 billion. Its remit was
to obtain the best fi nancial return for
these loans. This included working with
developers where an agreement could
be reached, or, if not, calling in debt or
carrying out proceedings against debtors
(See Byrne, 2016).
personal-fi nance/property-mortgages/
Dr. Philip Lawton is an Assistant
Professor in Geography at Trinit y
College Dublin, Ireland. His
research interests are focused upon
the relationship between the eco-
nomic and social transformation of
contemporar y cities.
Byrne, M. (2016) “Entrepreneurial
Urban ism After the Crisis: Ireland’s
“Bad Ba nk” and the Redevelopment of
Dublin’s Docklands,” Antipode, 48(4),
pp. 899-918.
Byrne, M. and Norris, M. (2017)
“Procyclical Social Housing and
the Crisis of Irish Housing Policy:
Marketization, Social Housing,
and the Property Boom and
Bust,” Housing Policy Debate, DOI:
10.108 0/10511482. 2016.1257999
Cox, K. R. (2017) “Revisit ing ‘the city as
a growth mach ine’,” Cambridge Journal of
Regions, Economy and Society, https://doi.
Government of Ireland (2017) Ireland 2040:
National Planning Framework (Draft),
Government of Ireland, Dublin
Keil, R. (2002) “Common–Sense
Neoliberalism: Progressive Conservative
Urban ism in Toronto, Canada,”
Antipode, 34(3), pp. 578-601.
Lawton, P., Murphy, E. and Redmond,
D. (2010) “Examining the role of
‘creative class’ ideas in urban and
economic policy format ion: the case of
Dubli n, Ireland,” International Journal of
Knowledge-Based Development, 1(4), pp.
Molotch, H. (1976) “The city a s a grow th
machine: Toward a political economy
of place,” American journal of sociology,
82(2), pp. 309-32.
Igor Calzada, University of Oxford, Urban Transformations ESRC Programme
and Paul Cowie, Future Cities Catapult, UK
Introduction: Beyond Smart
Data-Driven City-Regions?
This paper is a report on the recent special
session of papers presented at the RSA
Annual Conference in Dublin, entitled
“Beyond Smart & Data-Driven City-
Regions: Rethinking Stakeholder-Helixes
Strategies.” The session was a collaboration
between the Urban Transformations ESRC
programme at the University of Oxford and
the Future Cities Catapult.
The focus of the session was to
add to the growing literature taking a
critical view of the hegemonic smart
city discourse. An increasing number
of nuanced critiques of a technology-
deterministic and hyper-connected
understanding of a smart city have
emerged (Calzada and Cobo, 2015).
This position seeks to ask questions
about the power of smartness and who it
serves. Likewise, it seeks to understand
the agents in the smart networks and
assemblages that make up the smart cit y.
Ultimately, we should also ask whether
another urban governance model is
possible, a ‘third way’ of urban experi-
mentation between state and market
(Keith and Calzada, 2017).
Alongside these meta-critiques of
the smart city, other academics are
exampling the underpinning technol-
ogy and how it is used to structure smart
cities. Many smart technologies rely on
ubiquitous sensing and wholesale data
collection on every aspect of cit y life.
To process this ‘ big data’, algor it hms are
created to identif y patterns and correla-
tions that then determine city policy in
domains as diverse as transport, health-
care, education or crime. The way in
which data is collected, exploited, and
owned should be ethically and politi-
cally challenged by both academics and
policymakers to deliver transparent
democratic accountability in cities and
Hence, the session emphasised that
smart city-regional designs – in the
way data is managed - have signi cant
and serious democratic implications
Research Notes Regions 308 Autumn 2017
for usability and accessibilit y within
the intended community. The assump-
tion behind many smart city-regional
projects is that everyone owns a smart-
phone and knows how to operate it at
maximum performance. Consequently,
technology audits are necessary to reveal
just how fl exible, usable, and accessible
these mundane technology designs are
for different targeted stakeholders. From
these daily-life routines of citizens,
data-driven smart city-regions need to
consider three democratic precondi-
tions, taking into account not only the
usability of the technolog y but also the
impact at the community level: First,
techno-politics of data has emerged as
a prominent topic of debate for urban
development insofar as we reconsider
the different role of specifi c stakehold-
ers in the given community (Calzada,
2017b). Second, around the power
interdependencies between stakehold-
ers, open innovation and new forms of
knowledge are emerging between the
helixes, particularly by pointing out
the role of universities (Goddard and
Kempton, 2016). Third, consequently,
despite the so-called public-private-
partnership governance scheme and the
‘potential’ proactive role of universities,
other urban partnership schemes should
be encouraged and explored in cities
and regions by experimenting with
the agency rather than with merely the
institutional structures.
Amidst the Helix Thinking:
Triple Helix (TH),
Quadruple Helix (QH) and
Penta Helix (PH)?
To assume this challenge, the session
used the lens of the Helix Thinking.
Helix Thinking examines the stake-
holders’ pervasive involvement in the
development of city-regions. The origi-
nal Triple Helix model (TH) (Etzkowitz
and Leydesdorff, 2000), was structured
around university-industr y-government
relations. Building on the TH model of
innovation, the Quadruple-Helix (QH)
also includes the citizen or communit y
that inhabits the smart city-region
within the decision-making processes.
The initial TH model was developed as
a way to conceptualise public innova-
tion and the fl ow of knowledge in open
innovation systems. In those days, it
could be seen as an almost ‘disruptive
idea. Soon, however, the institutional
arrangements that were established
in the name of TH became more
separated and conventional. Insofar
as the inventions were supposed to be
generated in what has been cal led the
‘knowledge infrastructure’ (by which
is usually meant universities), devel-
oped through the ‘support structure
(usually tax-fi nanced incubators) and
finally commercialised in the ‘pro-
duction structure’ (private sector as
However, due to recent projects and
initiatives in which techno-political
awareness is transforming the conditions
and ownership of data itself, another
extension and updated version of the
Helix Thinking was proposed as the
Penta Helix (PH) (Satyam and Calzada,
2017). The PH framework, in contrast
to the institutional structuralist TH and
QH, is novel in that its contribution
includes (social) entrepreneurs, activists,
assemblers, or bricoleurs as an additional
helix, which emphasizes the active role
of citizenships as an agency of sys-
temic, bottom-up and disruptive social
innovation. Some cities and regions in
Europe are already being self-organised
by following what is called ‘city-as-a-
platform’ (Anttiroiko, 2016). In those
newly emerged contexts, transformative
alliances among the public sector, pri-
vate sector, academia, and civic society
are being fuelled by a fi fth helix, formed
by connecting the previous four. This
fth helix is the key driver not only to
transform and democratise the smart
city concept but also to experiment
across institutional boundaries in search
of the urban commons (Oström, 2010).
In this paper, we seek to expand this
understanding of the TH, QH, and PH
frameworks and broaden its application
to include the governance of smart cit-
ies. The governance of cities has always
focused on the physical elements of the
city—its buildings, infrastructure, and
green spaces. It has included regulating
the fl ows and networks that allow the
city to function. Smart city-regions add
an additional layer to this complexity,
that of technology and data. Therefore,
governance is about not only creating
laws and regulations that mediate between
the competing claims to the city and its
resources but also introducing changes to
achieve more democratic communities.
As such, it is about mediating between
the various institutional structures and
social agent s existi ng in the city and their
relationship to power, both political and
nancial power. The Helix Thinking, in
its variegated forms, allows these fl ows and
institutional assemblages, as well as the
entrepreneurial networks of citizens, to
be interrogated and understood, particu-
larly as they are mediated through sensing
technologies and big data algorithms. As
is shown in Table 1, in the following sec-
tion, we will elaborate comparatively on
the three variegated versions of the Helix
Thinking throughout the summary of the
three papers presented and discussed:
The Conference
Session Debate
The first paper of the special session
considered the role of the university as
an anchor institution within the QH.
This includes examining both its role
as a cultural institution and its physical
inf luence on the built environment of
the city. The next paper took a practical
view of the QH, focusing on how we
Table elaborated by Calzada, 2016
Table 1: Triple Helix, Quadruple Helix and Penta Helix frameworks
Triple Helix
Quadruple Helix
Penta Hel ix
Literature s%TZKOWITHZ
s'ODDARD s/STROM
s!NT TIRO IKO
s#A LZADA AANDB
Multi-Stakeholders s0UBL IC
Governance Scheme &
Citizenship Response
Tec hn o- Pol itic s of Dat a Tec hn ocr at ic
Top - Dow n
Inst itutiona lised B ottom-Up Emergent & Complex
Rethin king Stakeholders’ Helixes- Strategies
Regions 308 Autumn 2017 Research Notes
understand the wicked problems
posed by smart cities and ensure
transparency and legitimacy on the
solutions implemented by the city.
The fi nal paper explores a variation
in the Helix Thinking: It added
a fi fth helix related to and diluted
amidst the previous four helixes of
the QH framework.
In the fi rst paper, Goddard advo-
cated the QH framework to describe
a partnership convened by universi-
ties as key civic institutions with the
capacity to contribute to shaping the
future development of their cities.
He suggested that global knowledge
locked up in universities could be
mobilized to ‘anchor’ the univer-
sity locally in the city by the use of
urban foresight methodologies. In
essence, this approach challenges the
traditional linear models of science
and technology push approach to
city development through research
commercialisation, which have been
embraced by governments through
support of so-called TH partnerships
between the state, universities, and busi-
nesses and the creation of urban science
parks. Thus, the ‘Civic University’ was
suggested as contrasting the traditional
university, insofar as there are strong
overlaps between the three domains of
teaching, research, and societal engage-
ment and the adoption of a holistic view
of city development.
In the next paper, Cowie, recognis-
ing the large amount of data that there is
in cities and regions, noted that the QH
framework includes diverse ways that
citizens can actually benefi t from recent
developments in urban technologies, as
well as how such data-driven smart city-
regions can enable a collaborative culture
of citizen engagement to emerge. Thus,
this paper argued that individuals need
to be engaged on the issue as citizens by
deliberating on the conditions and safe-
guards, as well as consumers by agreeing
or disagreeing to terms of ser vice. It
also explored the heterogenous role of
the citizen and their differentiated and
complex relationship with the smart city
and its technologies. The paper reported
on a prototype innovation toolkit which
aims to open up the process of designing
and delivering smart city projects. Based
on aspects of design thinking and ‘pub-
lic innovation’, it seeks to democratize
the process of smart city development
and move beyond solutions driven by
already experimenting, conscious
or unconciously, from the QH to
PH by hybriding their groups of
entrepreneurs and activists within
the public sphere, private sphere,
academia, and civic society (see
Figure 1). Ultimately, the PH
framework focuses on establishing
data-driven smart city-regions as
ecosystems’ of citizens’ rather than
‘systems’ of systems’.
Final Remark: Squaring
the Circle of the
To sum m a r i s e , w h i le D e a k i n
(2014) considered the TH frame-
work suffi cient to ‘cultivate the
environmental capacity, ecol-
ogy and vitality of those spaces
which the direct democracy of
their participatory governance
open up, add value to and con-
struct’, this special session simply
reacted to this assumption by inviting
the rethinking of an updated version
of the Stakeholder-Helixes Strategies.
This widening of the domain of Helix
Thinking places additional burdens on
the theoretical framework which needs
to be developed to accommodate them.
Despite the approach remaining rather
experimental (Calzada, 2017a), we
have noted a wide and fruitful terrain
to explore and intervene from both the
research and policy perspective. This
can be achieved by collecting initiatives
- not only those ongoing projects related
to the QH framework presented in this
paper, such as ‘civic universities’, but also
those less visible and institutionalised
with a high degree of disruptive and
transformative potential at the com-
munity level. At present, such projects
are being emergently cultivated around
the PH framework in many communi-
ties in Europe and worldwide. As such,
in the short-term, squaring the circle of
the Stakeholder-Helixes Strategies may
imply allowing communities in cities
and regions to fi nd their own way to
tailor and own a data-driven revolution
while empowering their city-regional
endogenous governance through assem-
bling stakeholders’ present interests and
future visions.
technology and big data. Its open source
format allows col laboration between cit-
ies as wel l as within them.
Finally, in the last paper, Calzada, after
reviewing the evolution from the TH to
the QH, highlighted the need to trans-
form smart cit y practices using the social
innovation perspective by presenting the
PH framework. This variegated version
of the Helix Thinking is suggested given
the overly fi xed and bureaucratic frame-
works, such as those being implemented
at present in the H2020-Smart Cities
and Communities lighthouse projects
funded by the European Commission. In
such projects, besides the market crea-
tion and competitiveness imperatives,
little is left for experimenting among
entrepreneurial networks of individuals
and/or groups among cities and reg ions.
This could be seen, in essence, as the
system ic innovative spark towards tack-
ling the lack of political engagement
and democratic representation of the
whole Helix governance framework
nowadays. The PH framework, thus, is
related to and diluted in the other four
helixes by claiming the need to expand
the understanding of the data-driven
smart ‘city-as-a-platform’ and focusing
on the identifi cation of the urban assets
as ‘urban commons’, overcoming the
conventional public-private partnership
governance model. He provided exam-
ples—such as Mondragon (Spain), Kaos
Pilot (Denmark) and Team Academy
(Finland)—of how some universities are
Figure 1: Penta Helix Multi-stakeholder
Source: Calzada, 2017a
Research Notes Regions 308 Autumn 2017
Urban and regional
authorities in
advanced indus-
trialised countries
are turning to a
new generation of
global infrastruc-
ture public-private
partnerships (PPPs) in order to lever-
age private investment for social and
transportation infrastructure projects.
Increasingly such PPPs involve consortia
of international construction companies
and investment fi rms, which raise capi-
tal from global equity and bond markets
in order to cover extra costs required
for the fi nancing, delivery and opera-
tion of regional infrastructure projects.
National and provincial governments
in different countries have, in turn,
promoted new PPP arrangements as
part of wider efforts to stimulate the
growth of major city-regional agglom-
erations. At the same time, different
geopolitical visions and representations
of city-regionalism are often enrolled
in the various efforts of economic and
political actors to draw down future
infrastructural investments and realise
domestic and international economic
development agendas. However, very
little research has been conducted on the
relationship between global infrastruc-
ture PPPs and city-regional governance
processes. Stronger conceptual links
therefore need to be drawn between the
nancing and delivery of infrastructure
and the corresponding geopolitical
processes operating around city-regions.
Previous research suggests that the
rise of city-regionalism potentially
threatens the established geopolitical
authorit y of the nation-state (Scott,
2001; Jonas and Moisio, 2016).
However, little is known about the role
of collective provision of infrastructure
in shaping city-regional geopolitical
processes and outcomes. This research
investigates the claim that competition
to attract global private investment
for regional infrastructure projects is
an increasingly influential factor in
the geopolitical orchestration of city-
regionalism both domestically and
Case studies of city-regionalism have
been conducted in different countries in
order to investigate the variegated char-
acter of geopolitical processes at work.
This research note reports initial fi nd-
ings from studies undertaken in Helsinki
City Region in Finland, Seattle-Tacoma
City Region in the USA, and Shanghai
and the Yangtze River Delta Reg ion
in China. The research has involved
interviews and col laborations with local
researchers and stakeholders involved in
the planning, fi nancing and deliver y of
regional infrastructure.
Helsinki City Region,
The provision of infrastructure and
services has traditionally involved close
collaboration bet ween the Finnish state
and municipalities, which enjoy broad
constitutional autonomy. It does not
come as a revelation then that, until
quite recently, only a handful of infra-
structure projects in Finland have used
PPPs to leverage private funds from
global investors. Nonetheless, new PPP
models have started to attract interest
from investors due to mounting pressure
on public budgets as well as growing
national political recognition of the
Andrew E.G Jonas, University of Hull, UK
Antt iroiko, A. V. (2016) “City-As-A-Platform:
Towards Citizen-centre Platfor m
Governance,” RSA Winter Conference
2016 on New Pressures on Cities and Regions,
Calzada, I. (2017a) “From Sm art Cities to
Experimental Cities?” in V. M. Giorgino
and Z. D. Walsh (Eds.) Co-Designing
Economies in Transition: Radical Approaches in
Dialogue with Contemplative Social Sciences,
Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Calzada, I. (2017b) “The Techno-Politics
of Data and Smart Devolution in City-
Regions: Comparing Glasgow, Bristol,
Barcelona, and Bilbao,” Systems, Vol. 5 No.
1, pp. 1-18.
Calzada, I. and Cobo, C. (2015) “Unplugging:
Deconstructing t he Smart City”, Journal of
Urban Technology, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 23-43.
Deak in, M. (2014) “Sm art cities : the state-of-
the-art and governance challenge”, Tr ipl e
Helix, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 1-16.
Etzkowitz, H. and Leydesdorff, L. (2000) “The
dynamics of innovation: from National
Systems and ‘Mode 2’ to a Triple Helix of
universit y-industr y-government relations,”
Research Policy, Vol. 29, pp. 109-123.
Goddard, J. and Kempton, L. (2016) The
Civic University: Universities in leadership and
management of place. RR2016/01. University
of Warwick: Warwick.
Keith, M. and Calzada, I. (2017) European
Urban Living Labs As Experimental City-to-
City-Learning Platforms. Bridging European
Urban Transformations Workshop Series
ESRC in Brussels [Online]. Available:
Oström, E. (2010) “Beyond Markets and
States: Polycentric Governa nce of
Complex Economic Systems”, Tran snat ion al
Corporations Review, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 1-12.
Dr Igor Calzada is a Lecturer
and Researcher at the Urban
Transformations ESRC, University of
Oxford/COMPAS, Strathclyde and
Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His main
research interests include: devolution,
city-regions ( and
smart cities (
Igor is a Member of the RSA’s Smart
City-Regional Governance network.
Dr Paul Cowie is an ESRC/Future
Cities Catapult Fellow at Newcastle
University and ESRC Urban
Transformations Portfolio. Project Team
Newcastle City Futures, U K (http:// His
main research interests include: the
governance of smart cities (http://, citizen
engagement and the future of planning.
Regional Studies Association, Sussex Innovation Centre, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9SB, United Kingdom
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... It provides a general overview of the pros and cons of each disruptive technology. The applicability and effectiveness of each disruptive technology may vary depending on the specific needs and characteristics of the e-diaspora community and platforms with particular multistakeholder compositions (Calzada & Cowie, 2017). ...
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E-diasporas are communities of diaspora members utilizing digital technologies and data platforms to establish connections among themselves and with their homelands. In response to the pandemic, governments worldwide have intensified efforts to reinforce e-diasporas. However, these endeavours often rely on social media extractivist Big Tech platforms, which are referred to as ‘hyperconnected diasporas’ in this article. This trend potentially poses a threat to institutional trust and data privacy. This article introduces HanHemen (ThereHere in Basque language, Euskera), an ongoing action research-driven e-diaspora platform facilitated by the Basque Government. HanHemen aims to ensure data privacy through experimentation with blockchain technologies and co-production with end-users via DAOs. This article reveals findings from an online survey completed by 419 Basque diasporic citizens (N = 1,385), who demonstrated support for digital nomadism (62%) and expressed concerns about data privacy (84%). These findings highlight the need to overcome the mainstream ‘hyperconnected diaspora’ trend through HanHemen.
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The recent advancements made in the realms of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) have unveiled transformative prospects and opportunities to enhance and optimize the environmental performance and efficiency of smart cities. These strides have, in turn, impacted smart eco-cities, catalyzing ongoing improvements and driving solutions to address complex environmental challenges. This aligns with the visionary concept of smarter eco-cities, an emerging paradigm of urbanism characterized by the seamless integration of advanced technologies and environmental strategies. However, there remains a significant gap in thoroughly understanding this new paradigm and the intricate spectrum of its multifaceted underlying dimensions. To bridge this gap, this study provides a comprehensive systematic review of the burgeoning landscape of smarter eco-cities and their leading-edge AI and AIoT solutions for environmental sustainability. To ensure thoroughness, the study employs a unified evidence synthesis framework integrating aggregative, configurative, and narrative synthesis approaches. At the core of this study lie these subsequent research inquiries: What are the foundational underpinnings of emerging smarter eco-cities, and how do they intricately interrelate, particularly urbanism paradigms, environmental solutions, and data-driven technologies? What are the key drivers and enablers propelling the materialization of smarter eco-cities? What are the primary AI and AIoT solutions that can be harnessed in the development of smarter eco-cities? In what ways do AI and AIoT technologies contribute to fostering environmental sustainability practices, and what potential benefits and opportunities do they offer for smarter eco-cities? What challenges and barriers arise in the implementation of AI and AIoT solutions for the development of smarter eco-cities? The findings significantly deepen and broaden our understanding of both the significant potential of AI and AIoT technologies to enhance sustainable urban development practices, as well as the formidable nature of the challenges they pose. Beyond theoretical enrichment, these findings offer invaluable insights and new perspectives poised to empower policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to advance the integration of eco-urbanism and AI- and AIoT-driven urbanism. Through an insightful exploration of the contemporary urban landscape and the identification of successfully applied AI and AIoT solutions, stakeholders gain the necessary groundwork for making well-informed decisions, implementing effective strategies, and designing policies that prioritize environmental well-being.
The rapid urban growth of cities has produced several economic, social and environmental problems. This has brought the need to seek alternatives to develop more sustainable, resilient and equitable cities. One of the models that present one of the solutions for these sustainability problems are data driven sustainable smart cities, which are smart cities that use big data to generate a large amount of information that once it has been collected, stored, processed, and analyzed by different institutions with technical and specific competencies, implement actions to achieve their sustainability. Although there is no extensive literature on the characteristics of these cities, there is a theoretical framework that explains the characteristics of this type of cities. The objective of this paper is to identify the potential of the city of Cuenca in Ecuador to become a data driven sustainable smart city using this theoretical framework. The research is descriptive using the city of Cuenca as a case study, for which different sources of secondary information such as public documents about the city were used. As a result, it was identified that the city of Cuenca uses sensors to monitor traffic, air quality and noise, the implementation of smart lighting systems and the creation of a digital platform to improve the management of public services such as water, electricity and garbage collection, which makes it fit in certain characteristics to the model of a data driven sustainable smart city. However, one the main factors to fit the data driven sustainable city is the national and local context of a city.KeywordsData DrivenSmart CitySustainabilityBig Data
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The EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020 (H2020), under its Smart City and Communities (SCC) scheme, encourages European cities and regions to activate their given social and economic structures. Although, it goes without saying that the transformation of smart cities seems to be rather difficult as long as socially innovative restructurating does not take place among stakeholders. Based on a current H2020 SCC project, this paper sheds some light on the theoretical contributions of the triple and quadruple multi-stakeholder helix approaches. As such, it advocates that social innovation could rarely entirely flourish among stakeholders simply because the stakeholders’ structures show a fixed interdependence, far enough to contribute to a real transformation based on experimental governance and the urban commons. Hence, this paper will present the Penta Helix multi-stakeholder framework referring to the transformative alliance between the public sector; the private sector; the academia, science, and technology sector; and the civic society. Ultimately, especially the novel approach of this paper will be to include the fifth helix: social entrepreneurs, activists, bricoleurs, brokers, and/or assemblers. This paper will attempt to define and locate the profile of this fifth helix as the key element to activating a real socially innovative transformation in smart cities’ understanding and practices. This paper will be based on ongoing fieldwork research by presenting conclusions from some European cities and regions. Within the realm of this paper, social innovation could be presented as a methodological policy tool that could make effective systemic transformations in smart city institutional projects.
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Calzada examines in this chapter the ways in which the hegemonic approach to the “smart city” is evolving into a new intervention category, called the “experimental city.” While this evolution presents some innovations, mainly regarding how smart citizens will be increasingly considered more as decision makers than data providers, likewise, some underlying issues arise, concerning the hidden side and ethical implications of the techno-politics of data and the urban commons. These issues engage with multi-stakeholders, particularly with the specific Penta Helix framework that brings together private sector, public sector, academia, civic society, and entrepreneurs. These innovations in urban life and its governance will inevitably bring us into debate about new potential models of business and society, concerning, for instance, the particular urban co-operative scheme employed.
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This paper explores the substantial effect that the critical understanding and techno-political consideration of data are having in some smart city strategies. Particularly, the paper presents some results of a comparative study of four cases of smart city transitions: Glasgow, Bristol, Barcelona, and Bilbao. Likewise, considering how relevant the city-regional path-dependency is in each territorial context, the paper will elucidate the notion of smart devolution as a key governance component that is enabling some cities to formulate their own smart city-regional governance policies and implement them by considering the role of the smart citizens as decision makers rather than mere data providers. The paper concludes by identifying an implicit smart city-regional governance strategy for each case based on the techno-politics of data and smart devolution.
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This paper discusses the forms and social implications of citizen engagement in government-sponsored participatory innovation platforms designed to serve urban economic renewal. Discussion starts with a review of smart city discourse, which in the context of economic development policy translates into cities' need to support innovativeness by creating smart environments, including facilitated participatory innovation platforms. Platform thinking is gaining prominence in economic renewal as it enables the utilisation of collective intelligence that emanates from the diversity of citizens and other stakeholders involved in local innovation processes. Real-life examples of urban platformisation discussed in this paper include enabler-driven innovation platforms and living labs in two Finnish cities, those of Helsinki and Tampere. Discussion centres on three cases, which involve different target groups in participatory innovation processes: Helsinki Living Labs (users), Demola (students) and Koklaamo (residents). Platforms are used to support both urban revitalisation and economic development, of which the former is based primarily on representative and the latter on instrumental mode of participation. If participatory platforms become a norm in local governance, it will mark a transition from party politics, expert dominance and siloed bureaucracy to public engagement which supports citizens' efforts to produce local public services and to build their own city. In the Nordic welfare society context democratic culture, welfarism and redistributive policy provide support to the emergence of participatory innovation platforms by strengthening social inclusion, taming the growth machine, and easing the tensions between pro-growth and anti-growth coalitions. To summarise, the challenge to cities in different societal contexts is to find locally adjusted ways to facilitate platformisation, and through platform-based citizen engagement support inclusive local economic development, which can be seen as a 'soft strategy' for easing social polarisation, socioeconomic segregation and intra-national inequalities.
This excerpt describes the intellectual journey that I have taken the last half-century from when I began graduate studies in the late 1950s. The early efforts to understand the polycentric water industry in California were formative for me. In addition to working with Vincent Ostrom and Charles Tiebout as they formulated the concept of polycentric systems for governing metropolitan areas, I studied the efforts of a large group of private and public water producers facing the problem of an overdrafted groundwater basin on the coast and watching saltwater intrusion threaten the possibility of long-term use. Then, in the 1970s, I participated with colleagues in the study of polycentric police industries serving U.S. metropolitan areas to find that the dominant theory underlying massive reform proposals was incorrect. Metropolitan areas served by a combination of large and small producers could achieve economies of scale in the production of some police services and avoid diseconomies of scale in the production of others.
[Full text:] The terminology of 'smartness' is pervasive. This includes the concepts of 'smart growth', which attempts to reconcile competing social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability, and that of 'smart cities', which has connotations not only of ICT, but of learning, institutional innovation and governance. This essay introduces the concept of 'smart city-regional governance', explaining how notions of smartness can be extended to more explicitly deal with the governance process of finding balanced answers to multiple agendas, and to cover the regional scale in which cities operate. We are left with a broad approach to conceptualising and investigating issues of pressing concern for urban areas in a national and international context. The ideas in this piece are based on the forthcoming book, 'Smart transitions in city regionalism,' co-authored by Tassilo Herrschel and Yonn Dierwechter, and have been shaped by a recent conference organised by the Regional Studies Research Network on 'Smart City-Regional Governance for Sustainability'.
We depend on -- we believe in -- algorithms to help us get a ride, choose which book to buy, execute a mathematical proof. It's as if we think of code as a magic spell, an incantation to reveal what we need to know and even what we want. Humans have always believed that certain invocations -- the marriage vow, the shaman's curse -- do not merely describe the world but make it. Computation casts a cultural shadow that is shaped by this long tradition of magical thinking. In this book, Ed Finn considers how the algorithm -- in practical terms, "a method for solving a problem" -- has its roots not only in mathematical logic but also in cybernetics, philosophy, and magical thinking. Finn argues that the algorithm deploys concepts from the idealized space of computation in a messy reality, with unpredictable and sometimes fascinating results. Drawing on sources that range from Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash to Diderot's Encyclopédie, from Adam Smith to the Star Trek computer, Finn explores the gap between theoretical ideas and pragmatic instructions. He examines the development of intelligent assistants like Siri, the rise of algorithmic aesthetics at Netflix, Ian Bogost's satiric Facebook game Cow Clicker, and the revolutionary economics of Bitcoin. He describes Google's goal of anticipating our questions, Uber's cartoon maps and black box accounting, and what Facebook tells us about programmable value, among other things.If we want to understand the gap between abstraction and messy reality, Finn argues, we need to build a model of "algorithmic reading" and scholarship that attends to process, spearheading a new experimental humanities. © 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.
This article analyzes the role of social housing in Ireland’s property bubble and its experience of the global financial crisis. The article argues that over recent decades social housing has been transformed from a countercyclical measure which counterbalances the market into a procyclical measure which fuelled Ireland’s housing boom. The reform of social housing financing and acquisition mechanisms has embedded social housing in the boom/bust dynamics of the private housing system. Analyzing the shifting relationship between social and private housing is crucial to understanding the role of housing policy in Ireland’s property bubble as well as the current housing crisis. Despite being caused by problems in the private housing and financial systems, the crisis has had very negative consequences for social housing, thus producing a crisis across the housing system as a whole.
Universities, knowledge and regional development. Regional Studies. The rapid expansion of universities and other higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world in recent decades has been followed by growing scrutiny of their role in knowledge production and regional development. This editorial and the papers in the accompanying theme issue reflect on the importance of placing universities at the centre of regional analysis. They examine why analysis of the stresses and strains permeating universities, knowledge production and regional development continues to provide fertile terrain for researchers in which to participate in important intellectual endeavours. Finally, they highlight the value of regional researchers asking the same demanding questions of the institutions in which they work as they do of other sectors of the economy and society.