Professor Catherine Bonier joins Urban Futures as a project researcher within an interdisciplinary team at Carleton:
“Urban Futures: Intra/Inter” / $50,000 Multidisciplinary Research Catalyst Fund (MRCF)
Key Representatives – David Dean, Stephen Fai, Tessa Hebb, Tracey Lauriault, Alejandro Ramirez
Multidisciplinary Research Cluster Overview
Urban Futures: intra/inter brings together diverse researchers and research programs from across all five faculties to collaborate with public, private, and not-for-profit partners on questions and challenges at the intersection of the social and operational dimensions of “smart city” technologies. Individually our work considers diverse governance structures, shared transportation and utility networks, housing, emergency services, food security, environmental stewardship, culture, and cultural heritage. Collectively, we are concerned with the potentially disruptive, transformative, and destructive impact that the connectivity afforded by data and digital technologies might have on these urban phenomena. Further, we argue that these phenomena are connected at multiple scales that may result in unanticipated effects upscale or downscale from the point of change. As a research cluster, our approach to the question of smart cities will be unequivocally multidisciplinary and inclusive with the voice of all faculties and stakeholders brought to bear on the full range of research questions.
We propose the development of a multidisciplinary research cluster concerned with increasingly seamless intra/inter urban networks and the visible and invisible roles and consequences that data and digital technologies play in establishing and maintaining those networks. “Smart city”—and variants on that trope—have become the dominant metaphor to proselytize diverse and often conflicting agendas for the harvesting of data and the integration of digital technologies in urban planning, asset management, and public engagement. These are no longer emerging technologies. We are witnessing an unprecedented proliferation of private sector platforms, applications, and sensors developed and deployed across multiple scales. The absence of any real consensus on what constitutes a “smart city”, what value it brings, and who are its beneficiaries calls for urgent and rigorous research and design imagination.