Slow-governance in smart cities: An empirical study of smart intersection implementation in four US college towns

Madelyn Rose Sanfilippo, Brett Frischmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cities cannot adopt supposedly smart technological systems and protect human rights without developing appropriate data governance, because technologies are not value-neutral. This paper proposes a deliberative, slow-governance approach to smart tech in cities. Inspired by the Governing Knowledge Commons (GKC) framework and past case studies, we empirically analyse the adoption of smart intersection technologies in four US college towns to evaluate and extend knowledge commons governance approaches to address human rights concerns. Our proposal consists of a set of questions that should guide community decision-making, extending the GKC framework via an incorporation of human-rights impact assessments and a consideration of capabilities approaches to human rights. We argue that such a deliberative, slow-governance approach enables adaptation to local norms and more appropriate community governance of smart tech in cities. By asking and answering key questions throughout smart city planning, procurement, implementation and management processes, cities can respect human rights, interests and expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternet Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Data governance
  • Human-centred design
  • Knowledge commons
  • Smart cities
  • Transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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