Smart City Dialogue: The role of big companies in the Smart City

Featured image

Companies shape the cities we live in. Especially larger companies have the capacity to invest, the ability to scale up new technology and a strong interests in getting involved in public private partnerships. For them, smart cities are increasingly becoming an attractive growth market. For governments these larger companies are attractive partners. Indeed, companies are involved in a lot of smart city projects in Amsterdam.

Companies play their role in smart cities in ways that may be described as ‘politics with different means’. They develop algorithms that define how citizens are nudged towards particular kinds of behavior. They try to set standards for the future. They are given access to data that they may also use for investment decisions. They provide services that may render public services obsolete.

Our next smart city dialogue is about these roles played by companies in public-private partnerships and the relation between these partnerships and representative democracy. Do public-private partnerships indeed bypass democratic politics under the label of smartness and innovation. If so, how can elected politicians control and hold companies accountable? Or are representative democracy and public private partnerships complementary modes of governance that each act on their own kinds of challenges?

Willem van Winden, Daniel van der Buusse, Roel Nahuis and Wieke Schrama

Interesting for anyone working within but also with these bigger companies in Amsterdam smart city! Join the smart dialogue on the 12th of sept at the Amsterdam University of Applied Science from 3 – 5 PM. Wibaustraat 3b, room 05A26.

Please register by emailing to