Resistance and Engagement in the Smart City: A Case Study in Community Participation Initiatives in Boston and Toronto

  • Isabel Ling, B.S. URS 2019
  • Class

    CRP 4920 Undergraduate Honors Thesis Research
  • Instructor

    Jennifer S. Minner

As more multinational companies attempt to institute large-scale urban smart cities projects, they face an increasing amount of resistance from local communities and organizations. This resistance stems from a lack of transparency on the part of private companies and local governments, a disregard for privacy and digital consent in the dialogue surrounding the projects, and a differing definition of what good communities and livable cities look like.

In this paper, Ling explores the patterns of resistance to smart city initiatives and the community organizations and movements that have sprung up in retaliation to the implementation of smart city initiatives in cities across the world. She compares the differing perceptions of private stakeholders, local governments, and community activists on community engagement and its role in the creation of a smart city, gaining insight through interviews, an analysis of online forums, and case studies. She analyzes the community participation efforts that smart city initiatives attempt to foster through new technologies. Ling also identifies narratives around resistance to smart cities and gains a better understanding of the barriers to integration for urban technologies.

The full thesis will be available from the Cornell University Library in spring 2020.