smart cities

From Barcelona, to Hong Kong, to Boston, to Indianapolis, governments around the world are deploying a myriad of new technologies to address the basic challenges of living and thriving in modern societies. Already, more people around the world live in cities than in rural areas for the first time in world history, a trend that is expected to only continue in the decades ahead. At the same time, new challenges from climate change and cyberattacks to protecting personal privacy in rising megacities demand our attention. This conference on the broad topic of “Smart Cities” seeks to define this vague term, and to help lay out an appropriate research agenda to appropriately tackle the governance challenges presented by this trend. For example, while some cities have embedded sensors within streets and subways may improve the daily transit, others are using data and analytics to build public-facing applications to enhance residents’ engagement with the city and its neighborhoods. Several ongoing projects envision managing the tension between the government holding data and the individual’s right to privacy. Yet, the issue is far from settled, and many other topics remain to be addressed. This conference seeks to help fill this gap by exploring existing projects, approaches, and best practices, while also networking to develop key areas of future discussion.


Registration is free, but space is limited. Please email Angie Raymond for registration requests at


(PDF version)

Wednesday, OCTOBER 3
6:00–7:00 p.m.Ostrom Memorial Lecture 
Milton Mueller, Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy
Maurer School of Law, Moot Court Room 123
(reception immediately following in Faculty Lounge Rm 310 )   [Flyer | Live stream URL

Thursday, OCTOBER 4

[Live stream URL]
9:00–10:20 a.m.Securing (Not So) Smart Cities

This panel will investigate the cybersecurity and related privacy issues replete in the smart city context, with a focus on governance best practices, technical vulnerabilities, and how to improve cybersecurity due diligence on the part of IoT vendors.

Scott Shackelford, Indiana University
Jean Camp, Indiana University
10:20–11:10 a.m.
Open Government: Governance and Issues

Open government—that is, “the opening up of government processes, proceedings, documents, and data for public scrutiny and involvement”—is now considered a fundamental element of a democratic society. Greater transparency and public participation can lead not only to better policies and services, they can also promote public sector integrity, which is essential to regaining and maintaining citizens’ trust in the neutrality and reliability of public administrations. This panel will explore issues associated with open government and the tensions that open data and smart cities can present in a transparent government.

Angie Raymond, Indiana University
Kip Tew, Ice Miller, Indianapolis
Benjamin Green, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
Gerry Lanosga, Indiana University
11:20–11:50 a.m.
Making a City Smarter by Improving Access to Services

Open data and public information are key for accessing and improving services in a city, smart or otherwise. Deliberate institutional measures are often required to ensure the maintenance and publication of accurate, usable public information. Yet such measures are often not put in place with any systematic intention—resulting all too often in tragedies of the commons. In this panel, we’ll consider the prospects for collective action around the provision of open data and public information. We’ll also discuss efforts to use ICT to improve public services and make government perform better.

Anh Ngoc Tran, Indiana University
Abbey Stemler, Indiana University
Greg Bloom, Open Referral
Simon Boehme, LegalWin
11:50 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Lunch break
1:30–2:20 p.m.
Smart Cities in Action

Chicago and Seattle are two cities at the forefront of the smart cities movement. This panel is an opportunity to learn about smart city development in these two cities from individuals helping lead the way. Charlie Catlett will discuss the development of Chicago’s Array of Things (AoT). “The Array of Things is a collaborative effort among leading scientists, universities, local government, and communities in Chicago to collect real-time data on the city’s environment, infrastructure, and activity for research and public use.” Ginger Armbruster will discuss Seattle’s various efforts to improve transportation through smart city technology, balancing smart city data uses and privacy interests, and the diversity of issues Seattle faces when given the “size and scope of Seattle’s city departments” that are involved in Seattle’s smart city development.

Joseph Tomain, Indiana University
Ginger Armbruster, Seattle's Chief Privacy Officer
Charlie Catlett, Chicago's Array of Things Oversight Council
2:40–3:30 p.m.Governments, Data, and Society

A large focus of smart cities and data governance is on emergency situations, but that emphasis misses how data will also, and perhaps more often, be used for everyday decisions. Cities are likely to look to the private sector to provide at least the data gathering and processing infrastructures, if not the overall services, cities wish to pursue. This point raises questions about the ethics and power at stake in such relationships. Initial attention and intentions about how such systems will be built, maintained, and remain within the control of elected officials are vital issues that may help prevent misuse and abuse of systems that start with beneficial goals but end up with undesired outcomes.

Deven Desai, Georgia Tech
Janine Hiller, Virginia Tech
Jody Blanke, Mercer University
Joyce Searls, Trustee, Sovrin Foundation and Customer Commons
3:40–4:30 p.m.Governments, Data, and Society: Asking the Right Questions

Smart cities require governance, specifically governance of intelligence and intelligence-enabled control. In fact, in some very important respects, smart cities should be dumb, and that will take governance. One way to quickly see the point is by way of analogy to the Internet and the decades-long and still ongoing debate about network neutrality. The end-to-end architecture of the Internet and open Internet regulation aim to govern certain uses of intelligence—and thus intelligence-enabled control—by infrastructure owners. Network neutrality is about engineering a governance seam between layers, and cities will face very similar challenges for many different infrastructures and services.  This analysis is really just illustrative of a deeper set of questions that need to be asked and carefully deliberated by communities going down the smart city path. Drawing from two different research agendas and books—Governing Knowledge Commons and Re-Engineering Humanity—I will outline the set of questions and explain their importance.

Abbey Stemler, Indiana University
Brett M. Frischmann, Villanova University
Salome Viljoen, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
Doc Searls, Co-founder and co-organizer of the Internet Identity Workshop
Milton Mueller, Georgia Institute of Technology
4:30–4:45 p.m.
Wrap Up

Friday, OCTOBER 5

9:00–11:30 a.m.
Closed Door Networking/Research Agenda Building