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Smart Festivals? Security and Freedom for Well-Being in Urban Smart Spaces

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jeremy CramptonORCiD, Kara Hoover, Dr Harrison Smith, Professor Stephen Graham



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Routledge, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


In this paper we use the natural lab of music festivals to examine behavioral change in responseto the rapid introduction of smart surveillance technology into formerly unpoliced spaces.Festivals are liminal spaces, free from the governance of everyday social norms and regulations,permitting participants to assert a desired self. However, due to a number of recent festivaldeaths, drug confiscations, pick pockets, and a terroristic mass shooting, festivals have quicklyintroduced smart security measures such as drones and facial recognition technologies. Suchrapid introduction contrasts with urban spaces where surveillance is introduced gradually andunnoticeably. In this paper we use some findings from an online survey of festival-goers in orderto reveal explicit attitudes and experiences of surveillance. We found that surveillance is oftendiscomforting because it changes experience of place, it diminishes feelings of safety, and thatbottom-up measures (health tents, being in contact with friends) are preferred to top-downsurveillance. We also found marked variation between men, women and non-binary people’sfeelings toward surveillance. Men were much less affected by surveillance. Women have verymixed views on surveillance; they simultaneously have greater safety concerns (especially sexualassault in public), are more keen on surveillance than men, but also feel it is ineffective inpreventing assault (but may be useful in providing evidence subsequently). Our findings havesignificant ramifications for the efficacy of a one-size-fits-all solution of increased surveillanceand security in smart places and cities and point to the need for more bottom-up safety measures.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Crampton JW, Hoover KC, Smith H, Graham S, Berbesque JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Annals of the American Association of Geographers

Year: 2020

Volume: 110

Issue: 2

Online publication date: 21/10/2019

Acceptance date: 26/04/2019

Date deposited: 08/08/2019

ISSN (print): 2469-4452

ISSN (electronic): 1467-8306

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2019.1662765


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