The Right to the City in the Platform Age: Child-Friendly City and Smart City Premises in Contention

Shenja van der Graaf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


This article sought to develop a critical account of the ever-increasing role of ICTs in cities and urban governance discourses, captured by a growing interest to 'smarten up' our cities, for their inclusiveness of citizens more broadly, and that of children, in particular. In revisiting rights-based approaches, it gives particular attention to the (political) premises of two urban concepts, that is, child-friendly cities and smart cities. The focus here is on how these current concepts encompass and direct the make-up of children0s relationship to the city, which brings the question to the fore of 'whose version is it?' A predominant provider0s perspective and a normative discourse are revealed which seem to overlook emergent logics of children0s social needs and experiences in the city. It is therefore proposed to revisit and revise our existing ideas, thus critiquing the current potential of the emerging 'rights-based' agendas in improving outcomes for children by urging cities to become child-friendly in their smart city ideals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number285
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Citizens
  • Participation
  • Datafication
  • Smart city
  • Child-friendly city
  • Human rights
  • Right to the city
  • Everyday Life


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