Infrastructuring urban sharing
(Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany)
Paper short abstract:
My paper invites to contest popular imaginaries of smart urban environments as especially democratic and sustainable by highlighting their infrastructural materialities and entanglements in global IT markets and resource flows.
Paper long abstract:
In popular media and political discourse, smart cities are often described as sustainable, creative and democratic spaces enabling participation and equal distribution of information and services among different communities by means of information technology and ubiquitous connectivity. Free WiFi, home automation, or smart traffic navigation systems represent technological solutions that shape the ways urban spaces and knowledge are shared. Such representations, however, only include economically profitable effects of urban digitization and look at online services from the perspective of IT consumers.
My paper invites to open up and contest the notion of sharing and to analyze smart connectivity from the perspective of its production. Which infrastructures and natural ressources are needed in order to make smart urban environments functional? How are those environments entangled in a broader context of global IT markets, labor relations, and resource flows? What inequalities become visible when analyzing how connectivity and sustainability are distributed between the smart urban centers and peripheral industrial sites of digital capitalism?
Sharing the city: economies and ecologies of urban dwelling