This paper will explore how a wide range of stakeholders in a ‘smart city’ discursively construct specific forms of social difference as they discuss their smart activities. While critics of the smart city suggest that the recent interest in the ‘smart citizen’ cannot address questions of social inequality and digital exclusion, the paper will suggest that, nonetheless, smart city stakeholders do assume a certain form of the social in their talk. The paper will characterise that form as one based on data transfer and aggregation, and will explore its implications for smart city governance.

About the speakers

  • Gillian Rose

    University of Oxford

    Gillian Rose is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is the author of Feminism and Geography (Polity, 1993), Doing Family Photography (Ashgate, 2010) and Visual Methodologies (Sage, fourth edition 2016), as well as a many papers on images, visualising technologies and ways of seeing in urban, domestic and archival spaces. Her current research interests focus on contemporary digital visual culture and on so-called ‘smart cities’. She is leading the ESRC-funded project Smart Cities in the Making: Learning from Milton Keynes; her particular interest is how digital visualisations of many kinds operationalise smart cities ( She also curates the digital | visual | cultural series of events ( Gillian’s webpage is at; she blogs at visual/method/culture and can be found on Twitter @ProfGillian.