A curation of articles, essays, book reviews and interviews on critical geographical concerns.
Smart cities have begun to garner increasing global popularity and political legitimacy in recent years. Driven largely by corporate interests, smart cities provide highly normative solutions to future urban and economic crises and are now popular in the global north and south alike. Despite a growing critical scholarship on smart cities, the processes and politics through which they manifest in different locations are widely different. Yet, there is a dearth of research on how an understanding of smart cities through the lens of power might contribute to our understanding of contemporary urban theory, citizenship and wider urban transformations. The papers, in this special issue, represent a range of entry points for examining the dynamics of power in the operationalisation of the smart city concept in different contexts. The intention is to examine how smart cities produce and engage power, as a way of normalising the structural and social violence inherent in urban transformations across the world.
This paper pays attention to the immense and febrile field of digital image files which picture the smart city as they circulate on the social media platform Twitter. The paper considers tweeted images as an affective field in which flow and colour are especially generative.
In this article we discuss the precarities induced by the threat of home demolitions in occupied Palestine. Drawing on fieldwork from four separate sites, the discussion begins by showing how the threat of demolition exposes Palestinians to a powerfully affective future of a violence that will arrive at an uncertain time.
This paper examines the infrastructure of marine spatial planning via two ocean data portals recently created to support marine spatial planning on the East Coast of the United States. Applying theories of ontological politics, critical cartography, and a critical conceptualization of “care,” we examine portal performances in order to link their organization and imaging practices with the ideological and ontological work these infrastructures do, particularly in relation to environmental and human community actors.
Critical commentaries have often treated the smart city as a potentially problematic ‘top down’ tendency within policy-making and urban planning, which appears to serve the interests of already powerful corporate and political actors. This article, however, positions the smart city as significant in its implicit rejection of the strong normativity of traditional technologies of planning, in favour of an ontology of efficiency and emergence.
In foregrounding ecologies of “9/11” memory and memorialization, this essay draws on more-than-human approaches that emphasize how both human and nonhuman matter and memory emerge from and transform each other in and around lower Manhattan.
This paper articulates the subversive and political potential of an object-orientated view of urban creativity. Drawing upon object-orientated philosophies, it further develops the political and subversive potential of the creativity rhetoric to argue that nonhuman material agency is an important factor in propelling subversive behaviour into sustained political change.
This article examines the mobilisation of spatial media technologies for digitally mapping informal settlements. It argues that digital mapping operates politically through a re-configuration of circulation, power, and territorial formations.
In Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven, Nunavut), we worked with Uqsuqtuurmiut (people of Uqsuqtuuq) on local priorities of caribou and well-being.
This paper examines the ‘future’ as a blueprint for social power relations in postcolonial urbanism. It addresses a crucial gap in the rich scholarship on postcolonial urbanism that has largely ignored the ‘centrality of time’ (Chakrabarty, 2000) in the politics and speed of urban transformations.
Though not an exhaustive list, these are many of the main areas we cover.
Writings that critically engage the ongoing conditions of coloniality and its effects. Entries in this section may also speculate on intellectual, political and organizational tactics that work to resist coloniality, colonization and colonialism’s effects in the present.
Examines the evolving social, ecological, cultural and geopolitical impacts of energy systems and resource extraction, with particular emphasis on the spatial relationships that structure the extraction, production, distribution and consumption of energy and other natural resources and raw materials
Chronicles past, present, and potential impacts of technoscientific development on the production of space. Provides critical looks into how scientific disciplines and industries influence how we analyze, categorize, experience, interpret, navigate, and represent that which we call space.
Investigates the spatial implications of the mass production, consumption, and disposal of digital media. Core areas of study include the environmental impacts, industrial landscapes, infrastructures, political transformations, social activities, and subjectivities particular to the digital age.
Charts the role that maps and various other forms of geo-visualisation play in the production of space. Offers a critical forum for investigating older modes of cartographic representation as well as newer approaches to big data and the politics of algorithmic and other data-driven processes.
Investigates relations between policing (narrowly and broadly understood), incarceration, and the production of space and spatial knowledge. Borders, criminalized neighborhoods, detention centers, heavily securitized areas, internment camps, jails, prisons, rendition sites, and the spatial relations that they rely on and produce are explored as sites of power and subversion.