What is an urban lab?

To think about the city as a laboratory is not the only way of using this metaphor in an urban scenario; we also have urban labs. An urban laboratory is either a temporal or a permanent “constructed site of knowledge production” (Karvonen & van Heur, 2014). The nature of the laboratory is not relevant at this point. It could be either a profit-oriented start-up, and academic research group, a governmental program, or an urban living lab (ULL) (Bergvall-Kåreborn & Ståhlbröst 2009Bulkeley et al. 2018).

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Dismantling the smart city. Going for the myth, coming with the motto

The popularization of the adjective “smart” for talking about particular conglomerates of things, intending to highlight a new specific technological process, is the triumph of corporate propaganda over what we understand as urban life. Nowadays to talk about “smart cities” is a normalized and popularized attitude from business magazines to technological reviews; from entrepreneurial movements and creative economy to academic circles. Because of its nature and components, this trending notion has also been under the STS gaze as a part of its research agenda.

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Diluting Citizenship. A first approach to the Smart City concept

The vignettes of the Coca-Cola 3D Billboard and the WIFI kiosks are sharing some common elements, besides the obvious point that they can be traced in the Times Square of my piece of research. Those elements can be gathered into a context of “experimentation in urban places.” (Gieryn, 2006Karvonen & van Heur, 2014Silver & Marvin, 2016) This particular conception of experimenting in either “cities” or “urban locations” is nowadays a global trend, presented sometimes in the shape of “smart city,” and that involves many different actors, conceptions, capitals, and processes. 

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