Smart City. In search of the Smart Citizen

This edition of Urban Movies at Pakhuis de Zwijger will feature the documentary Smart City. In search of the Smart Citizen by filmmaker Sara Blom and researcher Dorien Zandbergen. Afterwards, there is a discussion with speakers, among which is Frank Kresin (research director at Waag).

The documentary explores the ambition by several networks to turn Amsterdam into a Smart City: a city in which smart technologies create a sustainable, safe and comfortable environment and enable citizens to have more control over their surroundings. Blom and Zandbergen explore the connection between this dream against the dilemmas posed by the urban society of Amsterdam.

The film contrasts the digital lifeworlds of different social networks: from public-private organizations wanting to brand Amsterdam internationally as a Smart City, to citizens wanting to measure the air quality around their homes, to citizens who are uncomfortable with digital machines. By zooming in on these contrasts, but foremost by emphasizing the shared experiences between these networks, the film calls for a broad discussion regarding power and disempowerment in the digital society.

For this documentary, several Amsterdam participants were followed that joined our pilot project Smart Citizen Kit, in which we tested affordable electronics to measure the environment. As a follow-up, we started the Smart Citizens Lab this year.

This edition of Urban Movies will be followed by a discussion in Dutch. The documentary will have English subtitles.

Smart City. In search of the Smart Citizen has been made possible by the Creative Industries Fund and the Democracy and Media Foundation.


Pakhuis de Zwijger, Piet Heinkade 179, Amsterdam