Equality in the City (Book)

Imaginaries of the Smart Future

Edited by Susan Flynn Series edited by Graham Cairns

Interdisciplinary collection exploring cities and urban spaces in the context of technological and digital innovation. An approachable discussion of the issues surrounding smart digital futures and the disruptive potential of smart technologies in our cities; issues of change, design, austerity, ownership, citizenship and equality. 29col and 3b&w.

Series: Mediated Cities


This collection considers the city of the future and its relationship to its citizens. It responds to the foregrounding of digital technologies in the management of urban spaces, and addresses some of the ways in which technologies are changing the places in which we live and the way we live in them.

A broad range of interdisciplinary contributors reflect on the global agenda of smart cities, the ruptures in smart discourse and the spaces where we might envisage a more user-friendly and bottom-up version of the smart future. The authors adopt an equality studies lens to assess how we might conceive of a future smart city and what fissures need to be addressed to ensure the smart future is equitable. In the project of envisaging this, they consider various approaches and arguments for equality in the imagined future city, putting people at the forefront of our discussions, rather than technologies.

In the smart discourse, hard data, technological solutions, global and national policy and macro issues tend to dominate. Here, the authors include ethnographic evidence, rather than rely on the perspective of the smart technologies’ experts, so that the arena for meaningful social development of the smart future can develop.

The international contributors respond purposefully to the smart imperative, to the disruptive potential of smart technologies in our cities: issues of change, design, austerity, ownership, citizenship and equality. The collection examines the pull between equality and engagement in smart futures. To date, the topic of smart cities has been approached from the perspective of digital media, human geography and information communications technology. This collection, however, presents a different angle. It seeks to open new discussions about what a smart future could do to bridge divides, to look at governmentality in the context of (in)equality in the city. The collection is an approachable discussion of the issues that surround smart digital futures and the imagined digital cities of the future. It is aspirational in that it seeks to imagine a truly egalitarian city of the future and to ponder how that might come about.

Primary readership will be academics and students in social science, architecture, urban planning, government employees, and those working or studying in social justice and equality studies

Dr. Susan Flynn is a lecturer at the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. 


Introduction Susan Flynn


Section 1: Urban Crisis

1.     Locked down in the neoliberal Smart City: A-systemic technologies in crisis. Eleanor Dare, Reader in Digital Media, Royal College of Art


2.     If (equality). Delfina Fantini von Ditmar, Lecturer in Digital Research, Royal College of Art


3.     Reading Lefebvre’s right to the city in the age of the internet. Alan Reeve. Reader in Urban Design, Oxford Brookes University


4.     Universities, Equality and the Neoliberal City. Richard Hayes. Vice-President, Waterford Institute of Technology


Section 2: City Design


5.     Universal Smart City Design. Eoghan Conor O’Shea, Lecturer in Universal Design and Architecture. Institute of Technology, Carlow, Ireland


6.     The Design and Public Imaginaries of Smart Street Furniture. Justine Humphry, University of Sydney; Sophia Maalsen, University of Sydney; Justine Gangneux, University of Glasgow; Chris Chesher, University of Sydney; Matt Hanchard, University of Glasgow; Simon Joss, University of Glasgow; Peter Merrington, University of Glasgow; Bridgette Wessels, University of Glasgow


7.     Co-creating Place and Creativity Through Media Architecture: The Instabooth. Glenda Caldwell, Associate Professor of Architecture, Queensland University of Technology


8.     Narratives, inequalities and civic participation: A case for 'more-than-technological' approaches to smart city development. Niamh Moore-Cherry, Associate Professor of Urban Governance and Development in the School of Geography, University College Dublin; Carla Maria Kanyanen, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University College Dublin and Alma Clavin, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University College Dublin


Section3: Spatial Humanism


9.     Building Participatory City 2.0; Folksonomy, Taxonomy, Hyperhumanism. Carl Smith, Director of the Learning Technology Research Centre (LTRC) and Principal Research Fellow Ravensbourne University London; Fred Garnett, London Knowledge Lab and Manuel Laranja, Senior Associate Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Lisbon



10.  Psychogeography: reimagining and re-enchanting the smart city. Adrian Sledmere, Lecturer in Cultural Studies, University of the Arts, London


11.  Afterword

Rob Kitchin, Professor of Human Geography, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

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