Locating the fourth helix: rethinking the role of civil society in developing smart learning cities

Borkowska, K. and Osborne, M. (2018) Locating the fourth helix: rethinking the role of civil society in developing smart learning cities. International Review of Education, 64(3), pp. 355-372. (doi: 10.1007/s11159-018-9723-0)

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In the Global North and increasingly in the Global South, smart city technologies are enthusiastically seen as a solution to urban problems and as an alternative to austerity. However, to move beyond a narrow technological focus, it is necessary to explore the degree to which smart initiatives are committed to building socially inclusive innovation with learning at its core. Using the particular case of the Future City Demonstrator Initiative in Glasgow, United Kingdom, the most high-profile initiative of its kind funded by government, the authors of this article assess the extent to which this smart city adopts such an inclusive approach. They use the quadruple helix model (government – academia – industry – civil society) as a starting point and develop an analytic framework composed of four strands: (1) supporting participation of citizens in decision-making; (2) implementing technological innovation which positions citizens as active users; (3) implementing technological innovation to benefit the community; and (4) evaluating technological innovation in the light of the experiences and needs of citizens. Unlike most analyses, the principal focus of this article is on the fourth element of the helix, civil society. The authors argue that Glasgow’s rhetoric of smart urbanism, while aspiring to problem-solving, devalues certain principles of human agency. They emphasise that urban change, including the city’s desire to become technologically innovative, would more fully facilitate active citizenship, social inclusion and learning opportunities for all if it were underpinned by the broader conceptions and frameworks of learning cities.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Osborne, Professor Michael and Borkowska, Dr Katarzyna
Authors: Borkowska, K., and Osborne, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > People, Place & Social Change
Journal Name:International Review of Education
ISSN (Online):1573-0638
Published Online:06 June 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Review of Education 64(3): 355-372
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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