Professor Ellen P. Goodman provides comments on the “digital layer” concept of smart cities in Smart cities will be cleaner, accessible, even more democratic, proponents say. This essay is the first article in the 2019-2020 Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy series on the politics and governance of smart city technology. The series, by Toronto journalist and editor John Lorinc, will examine data and privacy, mobility applications, predictive policing, sustainable smart cities, data and planning, and smart city megaprojects.