The smart city : a rhetorical analysis of actors and their smart city narratives

Russell, Patrick James
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This thesis introduces and synthesizes the rhetorical narratives of smart cities—a burgeoning field of discourse and practice that adds another “layer” of infrastructure to urban form and function: information and communication technology (ICT). In this thesis, I will perform a rhetorical analysis of two primary actors involved in the smart city movement: corporate actors and academic observers. Rhetoric is discourse, and discourse wields power. Only by observing the multi-faceted rhetoric of the smart city’s arrival and development will we, first, come to lay bare what exactly is happening, and second, better direct and guide technological interventions in urban spaces towards goals that serve the greater good. Technology alone will not define the future; rather, urban futures will be determined by how competing social groups within heterogeneous societies and economies approach, embrace, and speak of the technology that increasingly defines urban form.