DSA2018: Global inequalities
- Flavio Comim (University of Cambridge and UFRGS) email
- Shailaja Fennell (University of Cambridge) email
- Joe Ravetz (The University of Manchester) email
- PB Anand (University of Bradford) email
- Sudhir Rajan (IIT Madras ) email
This British Academy research based panel has 4 sessions: 1. From unequal cities to inclusive and smart development; 2. Space, pace, publicness, and the city of tomorrow; 3. From right to the city to cities for all; and 4. Local North and Global South: cities in Brexit and the Northern Powerhouse.
This panel is a result of three years of research supported by the British Academy on Inclusive, smart and sustainable cities. This panel has a set of four connected sessions.
Session 1: From cities of inequalities to inclusive and smart development? Frames and lenses -will draw on India, Indonesia.
Session 2: Space, pace, publicness, public realm and the city of tomorrow?
will be led by Dr Joe Ravetz from architecture and spatial planning and by Dr Flavio Comim from the viewpoint of publicness and will focus on public and visual dimensions of a city's economic dynamism to make cities less oppressive and more inclusive, humane and sustainable (based on the EU program 'Cities of Tomorrow'),
Session 3: From right to the city to cities for all: making the citizens count
will focus on the meaning of a right to the city (drawing on Lefebvre and Harvey), the challenges of creating and delivering a right to the city, and achieving the transformations essential to realise a city that really works for all.
Session 4: Local North and the Global South: Thinking about cities in the context of Brexit and the Northern Powerhouse (Panel discussion)
It will follow on from the panel discussion held at the DSA conference in Bradford but will focus on specific questions of how development discourses can provide insights to thinking about not only the causes of spatial and social inequalities but also in terms of innovations in social and economic development approaches and policies.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
From smart cities to Inclusive cities: Looking for deeper conceptual dimensions
This paper emerges from the British Academy funded research on situating infrastructure governance with inclusive, smart and sustainable cities paradigms. Smart city proposals focus on utilitarian frames but they often lack deeper institutional or conceptual frames. This paper aims to address this.
Smart cities are coming to a town near you. From an initial fordist approach, smart cities have appropriated the language and vocabulary of sustainable cities without corresponding change in the conceptual thinking. Though agent based modelling is employed in digital representations, the concept of agency of citizens is almost non-existent in smart city discussions. Where the language of freedom is used, it is predominantly situated within a broadly neoliberal and financially independent person than one who is a politically engaged citizen seeking voice and accountability. Based on the author's field work and qualitative interviews in several cities in Asia, this paper aims to identify some of the key challenges to developing appropriate frameworks to understand smart city proposals and the theoretical, methodological and practical shortcomings in framing the narrative of smart cities as though they are neutral constructs without implications for exclusion and who is being excluded. In fact in one of the smart city proposals, even Elinor Ostrom's idea of common pool resources is invoked though none of the actual interventions that follow do not include any mechanisms for rule setting by the communities or ordinary citizens. The paper argues that within the context of institutional evolution, smart city ideas are often used as easy packaging to present technological fixes to complex urban problems and thus eliminate the need to discuss many important challenges as those belonging to previous technological paradigms and hence no longer relevant.
'Smart-wise cities' in India: mapping the collective intelligence in urban transformation
Smart city technologies are powerful drivers in urban transformation, with positive & negative effects. Mapping these shows pathways for 'Smart-Wise Cities' to steer towards societal goals. This paper reports on a pilot project in India, with implications for global urban studies.
Smart city technologies can be powerful and innovative forces in urban transformation. They can also disrupt economies and societies, with risks of power grabs, land grabs, data grabs, and new patterns of inequality and exclusion. Smart technologies also bring opportunities: framed here as a 'smart-wise' model, which aims to steer new technologies towards societal goals.
This paper reports on an ESPRC-funded pilot project on 'Smart Cities in the Global South', working in Bhubaneswar (Odisha) and Kolkata (West Bengal) in eastern India. Here, collaborative fieldwork is building an online library of 'use-cases' and 'value-models' in a range of public services. This is part of a global program on urban transformation 'from smart to wise': this explores the pathways, from evolutionary-competitive systems (i.e. 'smart'), towards co-evolutionary collaborative systems ('wise'), based on a 'collective urban intelligence'.
The Indian context is the National Smart Cities Mission, and the policy goal for a much needed urban transformation. However there is growing critique on smart cities and their role in exclusion and inequality: e.g. informal sectors can benefit greatly, but also most vulnerable to disruption of livelihoods and communities. So the proposition to national policy is then framed as 'Smart-Wise Inclusive Cities', and the paper contributes evidence and analysis to that case.
There is also a comparative strand, which contrasts urban change and technology disruption in India with the developed world. Building on the EU Green Digital Charter, and many smart initiatives in Manchester, this explores the global dimensions of urban transformation.
Preparing to be Smart
This paper will outline a case study of a social housing provider in the UK, one of the stakeholders for smart cities, and their data sharing and quality practices. Results suggest that the social housing provider is not ready for the smart city movement. Recommendations are provided.
Are the different stakeholders in cities ready to be smart? Models and frameworks of smart cities often focus on indicators that identify what makes a city smart, with varying degrees of detail on how to measure the indicators. The Sustainable Development Goal 11 - making cities safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable - has a reasonably detailed set of indicators. But how well are stakeholders prepared to collect data for the indicators? This is what is meant with the initial question of whether stakeholders are ready to be smart. A city consists of more than the local government; many other organisations and individuals play their part in creating cities of tomorrow. This paper will investigate one stakeholder in particular in the UK, social housing, and its approach to data sharing and data quality. Data sharing and data quality are a very important component of smart cities. A qualitative field study using interviews, document search, and participatory observation, highlights that this social housing provider is in its initial steps towards creating data sharing and data quality practices in its organisation. This, however, is not in response to the smart city movement, but in response to regulatory pressures on better data reporting in the sector. In light of these results, the question at the beginning of the abstract should be rephrased to: How can we get stakeholders to be ready to be smart?
Smart Cities and Smart Citizens
This paper will examine the importance of establisihing smart cities by including smart citizens. In order to be definded as a smart city, it should ensure that all indivduals are catered for in one inclusive city.
The ambition of building smart cites has yet to realise the significance of including smart citizens. While other factors and mainly the use of technology which enable us to build smart cities, is the most noticeable factor. Upgrading citizens seems to be almost neglected as it is still not regarded as a priority in reforming cities to become smarter. This paper offers to explore the relevant literature on smart citizens and how to include all classes of the communities. Also, the desire of building smart cities offers a significant example of the need for upgrading citizens before building smart infrastructure and up to date technology applications. Taking some global examples, the research presented in this paper aims to explore recommendations on how to upgrade citizens, ensure that cities are for all and to make citizens count, therefore reinforcing the foundations for reforming cities to become smarter.
Barefoot Researchers for Better Communities and Inclusive, Just Cities
Community Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) model, grounded in the principle of 'experiential learning' aims to democratize knowledge.This initiative, posited in neighborhoods constructs distinctive discourse about the urbanization and builds Inclusive, Sustainable, and Just cities.
Drawing upon Professor Arjun Appadurai's essay "Right To Research" (2004) Community Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) model, grounded in the principle of 'experiential learning' aims to democratize knowledge, thus challenging the mode of knowledge creation, profiles of the creators and ownership of such knowledge. Through multiple epistemologies of knowledge creation, this process empowers communities within cities with research capacities thus engaging them in exploring sustainable solutions through evidenced based practices.
The conceptual framework is based upon privileging indigenous knowledge located within youth, and her community (Asset Based) helping them to build new knowledge in any format that suits their capacity and creativity. Youth while conducting the research is simultaneously the learner and a knowledge producer. This method exposes youth to the existing social hierarchies like class, religion, gender, caste and ethnicity where they are victims as well as perpetrators and this knowledge enables them to become game-changers for their communities. Bottom up process of research supports acquisition of granular knowledge and right to the tools of knowledge brings the marginalized non citizens it the realm of informed citizenship and exercise their Right to the City! .
This initiative, posited in their neighborhoods and rooted in their living experiences, constructs distinctive discourse about the urbanization processes and the that can contribute to building inclusive, sustainable, and Just cities.
Bypassed youth cultures in a smart new age: The many impasses of the periurban and tiny glimmers of hope
This paper synthesises findings from two years of research in the periurban regions of Chennai and Bangalore, whose original focus was on livelihood security and sustainability. Bypassed youth cultures turned out to be a strong theme, whose resolution requires creative strategies.
Three statistics portend the future of livelihood security in India: The richest 10 percent's income share is the highest in the world (over 55%); the share of salaried employment is lowest in the world (under 20%); and by 2020 India will be the youngest country in the world with a median age of 29 years. Add to this the 'smartness' of cities, post-Fordist automation in production systems and globally networked markets, and the likelihood of close to half the country's population ever reaching the middle classes seems extremely dim.
This paper uses a range of findings from around two years of studies in Chennai and Bangalore's periurban to synthesise alternative livelihood strategies and and 'wiser' visions for sustainable lifestyles for youth in India. The periurban forms the hinterland of cities, not only as a source of materials and labour, but also in the sense of creating 'left behind' spaces by capitalist conclaves that displace agriculture. These spatial bypasses remain largely hidden from view. If urban poverty marked the great underclass of the 19th and 20th centuries, periurban precarity may be the defining feature of 21st century vulnerability. Characterising their spatial and socio-economic conditions correctly will be essential to seek solutions.
Vulnerable citizens, mental health and the city: from Chennai to Bradford
Subjective realities of vulnerable citizens: Chennai versus Bradford.
This paper builds on experiences of settlers interviewed in Chennai, India, in regards to their lack of adequate sanitation, and compares it to the account of vulnerable people in Bradford, UK, who lack adequate housing.
How do the vulnerable fare in a city in terms of their freedom to be safe from harm?
This paper builds on experiences of some vulnerable and marginalised settlers interviewed in the city of Chennai, India, and compares it to the account of vulnerable people in Bradford, UK. While the parameter for analysis is different - in Chennai it is access to safe sanitation, in Bradford it is access to safe ways to live and sleep: homelessness and sleeping rough - there is a universal mental health dimension that can be analysed from the data.
The doctoral research on sanitation realities in marginalized peri-urban communities in Chennai saw the application of a lens of 'subjective realities' of individuals in dangerous situations. Discussed is both the wellbeing as well as the agency aspect of capabilities of urbanites. The additional research in Bradford focuses on both aspects as well when assessing circumstances and stories of present and past rough sleepers and their capabilities for development. Data gathered through speaking to organisations DISC (Developing Initiatives for Support in the Community) and "Hope Housing" will be discussed.
The paper investigates questions including that of mental and physical health consequences due to compromised wellbeing capabilities and freedoms.
Participatory governance for sustainable cities and communities in the ageing world: South Korean initiatives
Sustainable cities with an increasing older population should encompass and incorporate public spaces and communities that are 'age-friendly'. This study analyzes the extent to which current policies and local initiatives in Korea respect, empower, and engage senior citizens in decision-making.
A key feature of the new global discourse is sustainability, which is nurtured by participatory governance. The goal of sustainable cities and communities involves not only ensuring physical access to safe and affordable housing and the like, but also "improving urban planning and management in a way that is more participatory and inclusive" (UNDP SDG11 website). Participatory and inclusive urban planning and management is one of the world's common goals in this era of sustainable development.
Meanwhile, the world (and Asia in particular) is becoming increasingly aged. Sustainable cities with an increasing older population therefore should encompass and incorporate public spaces and communities that are 'age-friendly'. Engaging older citizens in decision-making and empowering them should be important, both intrinsically (as citizens' right in participatory democracy) and instrumentally (to result in the best outcomes).
In this context, this study analyzes the extent to which current policies and initiatives respect, empower, and actively engage senior citizens in decision-making so that they actively participle in social activities in their own community and also contribute to age-friendly city- and community-making as equal partners. The paper reviews different levels of policy strategies in South Korea as an early aged society in Asia. They include national-(Basic Plans for Aging Society and Populations since 2006) and city-(Seoul Metropolitan City) governments, and local and non-government initiatives at sub-district levels directly engaging marginalized older persons in deprived communities. Innovative approaches as well as challenges revealed from the Korean context will provide useful implications for other ageing societies.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.