Governance and Empowerment in the Smart City

Monday 30 October 2017
11:00 - 12:00 GMT
Conference Room, Urban Big Data Centre, 7 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow G12 8RZ

Liesbet van Zoonen, academic director of the Center for BOLD Cities will be visiting the Urban Big Data Centre on Monday 30th October to give a lecture entitled 'Governance and Empowerment in the Smart City'.

The talk will take place in UBDC's Conference Room and will be followed by a discussion and refreshments.

Space is limited so advance registration via Eventbrite is required. If you would like any further information please contact

Governance and Empowerment in the Smart City

While ‘smart city’ is already a stale term in IT and urban discourse, the average citizen is unlikely to know what it means, and city civil servants are still catching up on the implications of ‘smart’ for their particular policy and planning arena. Hence, the current cry among smart city companies and professionals is that it is time to ‘involve the people’. However, it is never discussed which people are expected and desired to become involved what desirable outcomes of this involvement are,  and what forms of involvement one should strive for.

In this talk, Liesbet van Zoonen discusses the need for the empowerment of citizens and civil servants against the big IT and platform companies and presents the action research that her research centre for Big Open and Linked Data (BOLD) Cities conducts. Combining data science with participatory methods proves a promising way, she will argue, to help both citizens and civil servants to keep the city as a public space enabling public life.


Presenter Biography

Liesbet van Zoonen is academic director of the Centre for BOLD Cities, a cross-university collaboration of Leiden, Den Haag, Rotterdam and Delft (Netherlands). The Center carries out concrete data science research, as well as projects that engage citizens with urban digital developments. Van Zoonen is a political scientist and methodologist by training but has always combined these disciplines with the critical perspectives of cultural and gender studies. She is currently professor of Sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam and worked until recently at Loughborough University UK. Her most recent article is Privacy Concerns in Smart Cities, which was published by Government Information Quarterly in 2016 (33.3).