"OPEN DATA MEANS BUSINESS": WHEN MONETARY POTENTIAL IN OPEN DATA USURPS ASPIRATIONS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPERANCY IN THE SMART CITY
As opposed to technocratic and top-to-bottom smart city discourses, open data has been deployed to transform these into “citizen-centric” ones. London is one of the prime examples of such positioning of open data in pursuit to create an alternative to corporate-driven smart city narratives. Prior to this, open data was already a governmental strategy in the UK in their pursuit of Transparency Agenda due to the assumptions that having access to governmental data would automatically yield transparency and accountability. However, shortly after, the economic value in open data displaced the social impact to periphery. As a result, the Open Data Institute (ODI) was established to unlock the economic value in open data. Located at the heart of London’s tech-scene, the ODI has attempted to contest what they referred to as “corporate-driven smart city”. Nevertheless, born out of a discourse in which lucrative potential usurped democratic aspirations, the ODI has subsequently been an environment that materialised, contributed and reiterated the prevailing smart city discourse. By way of a close observation of the ODI’s activities between late 2014 to mid-2017, as well as an analysis on the transformation of UK government's open data discourse, I argue that once advocated as tool for accountability and transparency, open data is mostly promoted for its monetary value.