Project meeting 4: Comparing our preliminary findings

On April 23, the KNOWING project group reconvened in Utrecht for the fourth project meeting. The 4th Knowing meeting was dedicated to catch-up on progress of the individual working groups. All KNOWING project members assigned themselves (and their national cases) to two or three of the working groups which were set-up after the third project meeting in Sheffield with the aim to explore the diversity of ‘smartness’ in various contexts (i.e. Districts; DIY; Platforms; Mobility; Sensing). All working groups briefly presented their progress and preliminary paper(s) and received feedback and additional insights from the other project members during extensive discussions. The central question on  “What are we learning in terms of knowledge politics? ” was addressed through two very insightful cross-case comparison sessions. So far, the project identified key differences across the domains addressed by the different working groups in relation to a broad spectrum of knowledge political questions: for example, smart city projects claim to be able to pre-empt problems through prediction (Mobility), renew city experiences (Sensing) or be obligatory passage points to know about or participate in the city (Platforms).

Site-visits and external actor presentations have become recurring and much-appreciated elements of the Knowing meetings. The first day of the meeting was held in the Merwedekanaalzone  (MWKZ), a semi-industrial area that will be regenerated in the coming years. MWKZ is one of the Dutch cases included in the Districts working group. Current plans and ambitions were presented by the spatial director of the MWKZ and the role of smart technologies in district development was further elaborated by Slim City. Slim City evaluated and shared experiences on their two-month, multi-stakeholder experiment on conceptualising a participatory tool for district development (3D model) to address locally relevant themes including mobility, health and citizenship. And, as the rain finally made way for the sun, the Knowing members gathered outside to be shown around the MWKZ. On the second day, Robin Berg welcomed the Knowing project team at his company LomboXnet that has become a show-case example on smart developments in Utrecht. Robin Berg is successfully developing smart mobility concepts such as electric car-sharing and vehicle-to-grid charging.

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