Book Review: Smart City Citizenship




Smart city, Data ecosystems, Digital rights, Social innovation, Networked Individualism, Penta helix, City-regions, Data infrastructures, Digital government, Algorithmic nations, COVID-19, Pandemic citizenship, Liquid citizenship, Data donation


Against the backdrop of the current hyperconnected and highly virialised post-COVID-19 societies, we, ‘pandemic citizens’, wherever we are located now, have already become tiny chips inside an algorithmic giant system that nobody really understands. Furthermore, over the last decade, the increasing propagation of sensors and data collections machines and data collections machines in the so-called Smart Cities by both the public and the private sector has created democratic challenges around AI, surveillance capitalism, and protecting citizens’ digital rights to privacy and ownership. Consequently, the demise of democracy is clearly already one of the biggest policy challenges of our time, and the undermining of citizens’ digital rights is part of this issue, particularly when many ‘pandemic citizens’ will likely be unemployed during the COVID-19 crisis. Amidst the AI-driven algorithmic disruption and surveillance capitalism, this book review sheds light on the way citizens take control of the Smart City, and not viceversa, by revolving around the new book entitled Smart City Citizenship recently published by Elsevier. The book review introduces nine key ideas including how to (1) deconstruct, (2) unplug, (3) decipher, (4) democratise, (5) replicate, (6) devolve, (7) commonise, (8) protect, and (9) reset Smart City Citizenship.


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Author Biography

Dr. Igor Calzada, Cardiff University, UK

Dr. Igor Calzada, MBA, FeRSA ( and @ICalzada) is a Senior Researcher on digital, urban, and political transformations from the social innovation perspective. His main research interest draws on how digital transformation processes driven by AI disruption in the post-GDPR current context are altering techno-political and democratic conditions of data governance for the emergence of new algorithmic citizenship regimes in European (smart) cities and regions. He is the author of the monograph SMART CITY CITIZENSHIP recently (Nov. 2020) published by Elsevier (

His work has appeared in the journals Journal of Urban Technology, Space and Polity, Regional Studies Regional Science, Regional Science Policy and Practice, Transforming Government: People, Process, and Policy (TGPPP), Sustainability, Smart Cities, Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, His is Fellow of the RSA.

He is currently completing his new book published by Routledge entitled ‘Benchmarking City-Regions’ (2021) and Emerald on emerging citizenship regimes (2022). At present, he holds the following academic and policy positions:

  • Senior Research Fellow at Cardiff University, Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD) funded by the ESRC working on emerging citizenship regimes.
  • Senior Research Affiliate at the University of Oxford, Future of Cities and Urban Transformations ESRC Programmes, where he has been working as Senior Researcher since 2012 particularly on European Smart Cities ( and City-Regions’ ( comparative, interdisciplinary, and international research funded by EU-H2020, EU-Marie Curie, RSA Early Career Grant, and Ikerbasque Postdoctoral Fellowship.
  • In addition to these, he serves as Senior Advisor on Digital Transformations in Urban Areas for UN-Habitat’s People-Centered Smart Cities Flagship Programme.
  • Until 2020, he has been serving as Senior Scientist at the European Commission’s Centre for Advanced Studies and the Digital Economy Unit in the DG Joint Research Centre (JRC) on AI, Digital Transformations, Digital Rights, and Platform and Data Co-operatives.

He has more than 20 years of research/policy experience as a senior lecturer/researcher having research, teaching, and visiting positions in several universities and research institutions worldwide in applied social innovation/sciences intersecting cities, techno politics, and frontier technologies: Cardiff, Oxford, Strathclyde, Aston, Vrije, Malmö, Iceland, Ikerbasque, Deusto, University of the Basque Country, Nevada, Mondragon, and Helsinki. Outside academia, he was director in the Basque regional government in the public and in the private sector at Mondragon Co-operative Corporation ( He holds a PhD in Social Innovation with the qualification ‘Cum Laude’ from the University of Nevada, Reno (USA) and Mondragon University, an MBA, and a BA in Political Science and Sociology with Honours, both from the University of Deusto.


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How to Cite

Calzada, I. (2021). Book Review: Smart City Citizenship . Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 5(1), 113–118.