“Governing the urban commons”: DLT, institutions, and citizens in perspective

Le Anh Nguyen Long, Shenja Van Der Graaf*, Athanasios Votsis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Borrowing from insights produced in urban planning, media and governance studies thereby leveraging the Ostrom-nian ideas of institutions and polycentricity, this paper examines how to govern commons in the smart city. It offers a reflection upon whether Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) could be a key notion for the commons discourse which centers around stakeholders, self-organization, and a rights-based framework. By decentralizing ledgers and enabling the interoperability of the various interfaces, DLTs make records more accessible, exchanges more transparent, and reduce costs while increasing efficiency, and permit automation, therefore commoning interactions both offline and online are facilitated. We argue that the use of DLTs to preserve the spatiotemporal integrity of key urban spaces is a common value question that needs to be elucidated or renegotiated in order to provide any useful guidance to DLTs integrity-preserving potential. In doing so, we draw attention to DLT-based urban commons and urban governance, and point to inherent incompatibilities that may lead to radical and not-so-smooth changes in urban institutions, while providing a way of thinking which can move the smart city closer towards a values-centered process and away from a preoccupation with technology and efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBig Data & Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2023


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