Smartness, Data and the Night

Nightlife is a crucial aspect of our contemporary cities, encompassing territories, temporalities, urban media, and multiple activities. It has emerged as a vital component of urban governance worldwide, which led to policies to contain, support, and develop the urban night. Conflicts over the “right to the night” involving several stakeholders have been addressed in different ways by municipalities. The increasing datafication of urban spaces has impacted the city after dark, even if this aspect of urban life is rarely addressed by the smart cities agenda beyond efficient public lightning or surveillance. While certain cities rely heavily on big data to understand and manage their territories in real-time, the lack of (open, public) data to comprehend the night is still an issue. For years, discussions of the night have happened in isolation from discussions of data and various forms of urban intelligence. The lack of data focusing specifically on night-time economy, and broader analyses of the impact of a smart city agenda beyond daylight, leave stakeholders—municipal governments, small businesses owners, neighbourhood associations, night-shifters—navigating challenging circumstances without essential information. As it is widely noted, the smart cities agenda is a controversial framework that has gained ground first in the private sector to describe data-centric initiatives and policies for cities worldwide. The discourse promises that big data enables cities to adopt a more sophisticated, real-time understanding of their spaces and people. However, current smart city initiatives can fall short when dealing with specific night-time economy issues, governance after dark, and the reproduction of historical inequalities through a narrative of efficiency. This working group aims to bring together researchers, activists, and policy analysts interested in critical approaches to the relations between smartness ecosystems and nightlife, including but not limited to:

  • Data governance, open data & data visualization.
  • Smart cities, media cities & urban intelligence after dark.
  • Regulatory frameworks.
  • Smart/nigh-time policy implementation.
  • Models of urban governance.
  • AI, IoT, sensors and the shortcomings of efficiency.
  • Privacy, surveillance & policing.

Leader:Jess Reia



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