Toward a sedimented methodology of studying inclusive smart cities

Authors: Jane YeonJae Lee*, Singapore Management University, Orlando Woods, Singapore Management University, Lily Kong, Singapore Management University
Topics: Urban Geography, Applied Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: Inclusive smart cities, Singapore, interdisciplinary research, smart eldercare
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Washington 1, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Smart technological intervention for vulnerable populations is growing through social innovations and various inclusive, bottom-up, and grassroots smart cities projects. Yet recognizing the complex assemblages of technical innovations, social needs, and political situations, in addition to being sensitive to the local culture, is a difficult task. As such, it is one that requires an interdisciplinary approach that can embrace both the technical skills as well as the critical understandings of the city and the people. Based on our interdisciplinary, university-led innovation research on smart eldercare in Singapore, this paper discusses the benefits of building such an interdisciplinary approach. It also highlights the epistemological challenges of conducting interdisciplinary work within universities and across different schools of thoughts. We introduce the idea of a “sedimented multi-scalar method,” which refers to a continuous effort to feed ethnographic data and machine-learned data into each other so that they grow on top of each other, like ‘sediments,’ over a long period of engaged research. Such collaborative approach would allow geographers to think critically about the role/s of data in realizing a smart city - from collection, to analysis, to response - and also allow to gather potential for inclusion/exclusion to be reproduced and/or overcome at each stages of the “digital feedback loop”.

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