Van Oers, Laura, de Hoop, Evelien, Jolivet, Eric, Marvin, Simon, Spaeth, Philipp and Raven, Rob (2020) The politics of smart expectations: Interrogating the knowledge claims of smart mobility. Futures, vol. 122.

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Identification Number : 10.1016/j.futures.2020.102604


This paper studies the performativity of smart mobility expectations in envisioning urban futures. Smart mobility, or ICT-enabled transport services, are increasingly considered a necessary ingredient for sustainability transitions in cities. Expectations of smart mobility’s contribution to such a transition are constituted by a strong belief in the transformative potential of data collection and use. These knowledge claims embedded in smart mobility expectations tend to be unchallenged, yet contribute to a particular future vision of urban mobility. Our empirical analysis, which draws on two empirical smart cycling case studies in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and Bordeaux, France, underlines the politics of such smart knowledge claims in two smart cycling projects and identifies distinct processes as to how such claims may shape and structure mobility futures. We observe intimate entanglements between what is being developed in terms of technologies and services; and the societal needs that the projects’ expectations promise to fulfil. At the same time, we witness a disentanglement of these interconnected knowledge claims when projects unfold, leaving the promise of (un)achieved societal benefits out of view. Indeed, smart knowledge claims carried strong inherent legitimacy in the cases studied, thereby risking to exclude non-smart alternatives.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: September 2020
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Smart mobility, Smart cycling, Sociology of expectations, Knowledge politics, Visions, Legitimation
Subjects: C- GESTION
Divisions: TSM Research (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2021 13:47
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2022 09:00
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