The Open UniversitySkip to content

Exploring the epistemic politics of urban niche experiments

Cook, Matthew; Horne, Ralph; Potter, Stephen and Valdez, Alan-Miguel (2019). Exploring the epistemic politics of urban niche experiments. In: Jensen, Jens Stissing; Cashmore, Matthew and Späth, Philipp eds. The Politics of Urban Sustainability Transitions: Knowledge, Power and Governance. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 125–147.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available (Accepted Manuscript)
Due to publisher licensing restrictions, this file is not available for public download until 17 April 2020
Click here to request a copy from the OU Author.
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Urban experiments have been initiated in several locations to purposively initiate and shape transitions to more sustainable urban socio-technical systems, e.g. for energy, water, mobility. Although knowledges produced within such learning spaces are often presented as logical, technical and rational (Vanolo, 2013 ; Kitchin, 2014), the actors and mechanisms which shape decisions are far from obvious, involving cultures, power relations and multiple logics that are profoundly political (Machin, 2013).

This research presents a case study founded in a phronetic perspective (Flyvbjerg, 2001; Avelino and Grin, 2017), unpacking the epistemological politics of an urban experiment taking place within a ‘smart city’ programme. A ‘smart transport’ application for mobile phones, ‘MotionMap’ was developed to transform the mobility system of Milton Keynes, an expanding city located 80 km to the north of London, UK.

The case study recognises power relations and reveals how various actors engaged in the development of this application have further rendered the MK mobility socio-technical system an object of urban governance.

Item Type: Book Section
Copyright Holders: 2019 The Authors
ISBN: 1-138-47965-9, 978-1-138-47965-4
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
MK:SMART, an integrated innovation and training programme leveraging large-scale city data to drive economic growth (Q-13-037-EM)H04HEFCE
Keywords: smart cities
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Design and Innovation
Related URLs:
Item ID: 57932
Depositing User: Alan Valdez Juarez
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2018 11:24
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2020 18:47
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU