call for papers for smart city session at the RGS-IBG conference 2018

The RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018 will take place from 28-31 August at Cardiff University with the theme “Geographical landscapes / changing landscapes of geography”. You can find more information about the conference here. This is a call for papers that address the spatialities of cities turning ‘smart’.

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As smart technologies, practices and polices of various kinds are rolled out by diverse actors in more and more cities worldwide, the need to understand their engagement with each other and with existing urban landscapes becomes more pressing. While many advocates of the smart city conceive the smart city as a rational landscape structured by flows of big data, this session explores a different smart geometry, which comes about when a range of smart things encounter the pre-existing complexity of cities. Here, networks of many different ‘smart’ things – sensors, apps, policy frameworks, citizen groups among them –  emerge, assemble, fragment, collapse and re-form. The session will therefore focus on smart entities as diverse and distributed. It will explore how smart outcomes are achieved between and across diverse actors and spaces, as well as how they fail to be achieved. Questions that might be addressed include:

  • what diverse things compose the ‘smartness’ of a city?
  • how are they distributed and what spatialities do those distributions enact?
  • what are the various forms of social agency that are enacted through smart activities?
  • how do different smart things interact? What are the modalities of those interactions, and what effects do they have?
  • how do smart city projects encounter the social and institutional diversity of urban spaces as they extend and move?
  • how do specific smart entities co- and re-constitute forms of social difference both familiar and new?
  • how do the ideas, discourses and objects of smart travel?
  • what happens when something smart that has been designed in one place lands in another?

Papers are invited which address these and other questions to explore the (dis)connections between different smart activities in a city, between those activities and the social spaces of the city, and between smart in different cities.

Abstracts not exceeding 200 words, including the presentation’s title and the names, emails address(es) and affiliation(s) of the author(s), should be sent to Gillian Rose (gillian.rose@ouce.ox.ac.uk) and Oliver Zanetti (oliver.zanetti@ouce.ac.uk) by 10 February 2018.

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