From Tar City to Smart City

Living with the Smart City Ideology as Senior City Dweller

Keywords: ageing, smart city, urban anthropology, ethnographic composition, feminist new materialism


In a smart city, technologies are designed to assist people in their everyday lives, like in intelligent homes, public transportation, and e-services. However, this can lead to new kind of marginalisation if people do not fit into the idea of smart citizen. In this article, I consider how the smart city ideology of Oulu in northern Finland becomes lived in the everyday practices of senior citizens; and how they sense themselves as “smart citizens.” Through generating ethnographic composition of ICT-biography and walk-along interviews, and series of workshops with seniors, city officials and researchers; and thinking this process as collaborative knowledge-making, the configuration of ageing in a smart city has emerged. In this configuration, the city is understood as an assemblage with dynamics of temporalities, structures, communities and individuals; and as part of global power-geometry. Though the seniors support the smart city ideology as regional strategy, they want to make a voluntary decision to become a smart citizen. Current smart city is made for and by technology enthusiasts, and it often excludes other citizens. To become a smart community the city must include variety of citizens in the making of their city. Many seniors are willing to take up this challenge.

Dec 25, 2018
How to Cite
Suopajärvi, T. (2018). From Tar City to Smart City: Living with the Smart City Ideology as Senior City Dweller. Ethnologia Fennica, 45, 79-102.