Within smart cities debates, the dominant discourse suggests that smart technologies will improve sustainability, efficiency, and environmental control, yet much of these claims have been taken for granted, furthering post-political urban environmentalism. We see this as an opportunity for critical geographers and political ecologists to investigate the politics of urban environmentalism at the nexus of big data, smart technologies, and data-driven governance.
Recent work has brought attention to these issues. For example, Gabrys (2014) identifies the ways in which smart cities enroll environments - surroundings, natural processes, and technological milieu - to shape the range of possible ways of being in the city. Likewise, Luque-Ayala and Marvin’s (2016) work on urban atmospheric control and “nowcasting” shows how computational power extends a logic of control onto natural processes, such as storm surges and flooding in the city. Recent work on “environmental big data” has also pushed forward concerns about the practices, devices, and subjects involved with environmental monitoring, raising new questions about epistemologies and ontologies of nature in the city as well as the politics of socio-environmental control (Gabrys 2016; Lippert 2016; Garnett 2016; Fortun et al 2016).
Critical questions are still to be answered, however, as smart cities and IoT agendas proliferate. They include questions of the decision-making practices around the geographic-ecological placements of data centers, the implications of sensors for real-time monitoring of air and water pollution, and the nature of the performativity and social construction of open data categories such as "environmental" data.
|Panelist||Andy Lockhart University of Sheffield||15|
|Panelist||SIMON MARVIN University of Sheffield||15|
|Panelist||Eric Nost University of Wisconsin-Madison||15|
|Panelist||Lindsey Dillon University of California - Santa Cruz||15|
|Panelist||Christine Hawn University of Maryland - Baltimore County||15|
|Discussant||Anthony Levenda University of Calgary||10|
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