Repository logo

The ethical underpinnings of Smart City governance: Decision-making in the Smart Cambridge programme, UK

Published version

Change log


Maslova, S 
Burgess, G 


jats:p As Smart Cities have become more widespread, so too have concerns about their associated ethical issues. However, ethical debates in the current Smart City literature have tended to focus on issues related to the collection, processing, usage, storage and sharing of data. This paper argues that ethical debates should be extended to capture crucial decisions taken as part of Smart City governance, and the ethical references which underpin them. Using the Smart Cambridge programme as a case study, this paper draws empirical data from interviews with experts and actors involved in the programme, and highlights the ethical nature of decisions taken in key aspects of Smart City governance. The paper reveals that city officials and programme managers demonstrate acute consciousness of legal regulations, which they employ in decision-making, and are less cognisant of governance principles based on norms and values which are also drawn upon. This paper argues that there is nonetheless ethical content which can be traced in decision-making, regardless of whether ethical concerns are explicitly recognised as such. </jats:p>


Peer reviewed: True


ethics, governance, Smart Cambridge, Smart Cities

Journal Title

Urban Studies

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



SAGE Publications