C13
Assembling the smart city: exploring the contours of social difference

Convenors:
Alan-Miguel Valdez (Open University)
Matthew Cook (Open University)
Nick Bingham (Open University)
Chair:
Nick Bingham (Open University)
Format:
Location:
FASS Building Meeting Room 1
Start time:
26 July, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Smart' cities are being figured as meeting places where multifarious things come together gathered by a vision of digital-led urban transformation. This panel invites contributions that follow some aspect of this to better understand how Smart participates in patterning social difference.

Long abstract:

'Smart' cities are being figured as meeting places where multifarious things come together gathered by a vision of digital-led urban transformation. This panel invites contributions that follow some aspect of this to better understand how Smart participates in patterning social difference. By curating rich accounts of smart cities in the making, in this panel we are interested in bringing the problematic of Smart into view and exploring how specifically, it (re)shapes contours of social difference. We argue this is a 'matter of composition' in two related senses. First, Smart initiatives change what the cities where they are situated are composed of in various ways. Sensors, servers, data, hubs; if the urban is always constituted of all sorts of heterogeneous materialities, the social of smart cities is populated with new, more, and different sorts of things and relations. Second, Smart initiatives change how the cities where they are situated are composed. If the urban is never singular but instead a multiple object-space, the social of smart cities is known, managed, governed and so on in new, more, and different ways. By better understanding both precisely what sorts of material practices come together in specific smart city situations such as smart governance practices and how those material practices are configured by the ways those situations are always already saturated with power, we seek insight into what sorts of activity, what sorts of ways of urban life do specific versions of Smart make more or less possible; when, where, for whom?