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The smart city movement — driven by the idea that we can leverage data and technology to optimize life in our cities — is attractive for many reasons. But critics say that smart cities may not be so wise, and in some cases, they’ve proven to be dangerous for democracy. In the first episode of season three, we’re doing a deep dive into this very concept: What are smart cities, and who are they for? Where has smart-city technology helped, and when does it start to wade into surveillance-capitalism territory ? Adrian speaks to John Lorinc, an urban affairs journalist and the author of Dream States: Smart Cities, Technology, and the Pursuit of Urban Utopias, about how the perception of smart cities has shifted over the years, and how smart city technology can both improve and disrupt our lives. Plus, Globe and Mail reporter Josh O’Kane shares his reporting from his new book, SIDEWAYS: The City Google Couldn’t Buy, which looks at Alphabet’s failed attempt to build a smart city in Toronto and what that high-profile example tells us about citizen engagement and good governance around the world.

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