Platform for City Culture and Public Debate


The Politics of Smartness

Open data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things: the possibilities of the smart city are endless. More and more aspects of our daily life are being turned into computerized data, while private as well as public actors transform them into new forms of value. But what is the real value of this technological revolution? Which parties benefit from the availability of data? Who is behind the interfaces? And how do our ideas on ​citizenship change in the smart city? Evgeny Morozov, Noortje Marres, Nicola Villa and Willem Schinkel debate the politics behind the datafication of our urban areas. They investigate how we are already plugged into the smart city, whether the ‘smart city’ is not mostly a ‘private city’ and who is able to challenge the depoliticized quest for smartness.

In collaboration with the Erasmus Institute for Public Knowledge (EIPK) and the Center for Public Imagination (CPI)


Evgeny Morozov

Evgeny Morozov is a prominent thinker on digital technology and the political implications of the Internet. He is the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom and To Save Everything, Click Here: the Folly of Technological Solutionism. He also is a regular contributor to the Guardian and his writings have appeared in magazines and newspapers like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.

Noortje Marres

Noortje Marres is Associate Professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick. Her work investigates various intersections between technology, environment, knowledge and the public. In 2017 she published the book Digital Sociology – The Reinvention of Social Research, which offers a critical overview of interdisciplinary debates about new ways of knowing society that are emerging today at the interface of computing, media, social research and social life.

Nicola Villa

Nicola Villa is Senior Vice President at MasterCard, where he is in charge of the global government industry strategy and vertical markets initiatives. Prior to that Villa led IBM’s global National Infrastructure & Smarter Cities practice, where he helped grow IBM’s Internet of Things footprint in Europe. Nicola Villa also is an executive member of the board of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Urbanization Program.

Willem Schinkel

Willem Schinkel is Professor of Social Theory at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He was visiting scholar at NYU (New York), the Institute for Public Knowledge (NYU), and Humboldt University Berlin. He publishes on a wide range of subjects, including social theory, social philosophy and the sociology of art.