Surveillance in Smart Cities: Technology induced spatial reconfigurations of governance in Shanghai and Mexico City

Authors: Tom Narins*, University at Albany, Ryan Kiggins, University of Central Oklahoma
Topics: Political Geography, China, Cyberinfrastructure
Keywords: Smart City, Surveillance, Multi-Scalar Governance, China, Latin America
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8222, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The global spatial proliferation of information technologies has transformed the relationship between those who govern and the governed. Data collection and sharing platforms such as cellular, computer networks, and software applications – while connecting people over large distances – are increasingly used to surveil “quality of life” information at more local and urban scales. One definition of a “Smart City,” in fact, centers on the gathering and organizing of data relating to citizens residing in a particular place. The extent to which this data is shared freely with city dwellers - to improve their lives or as a form of control by authorities - may depend on the type of governance framework operating at city and state levels. This paper explores the notion of a smart city in China and Latin America – regions whose political trajectories differ significantly. By examining the concept of “Shanghai as smart city” and “Mexico City as smart city” – each city being the region’s largest metropolitan agglomeration, respectively, this project reveals the ways in which marketing an urban area as “smart” may generate different political outcomes for inhabitants of the region.

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