Social justice implications of smart urban technologies: an intersectional approach

Sharma, Nickhil Kumar ORCID:, Hargreaves, Tom ORCID: and Pallett, Helen ORCID: (2023) Social justice implications of smart urban technologies: an intersectional approach. Buildings and Cities, 4 (1). 315–333. ISSN 2632-6655

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Techno-optimistic visions around smart buildings, homes, cities, grids, healthcare, etc. have become ubiquitous over the past decade. Using variations of machine learning and artificial intelligence, smart urbanism (SU) envisions an efficient, digital society. However, research shows that smart technologies reinscribe inequalities by prioritising the interests of the free market, technology-centric governance and data monetisation. Although there has been a growing concern over the injustices SU perpetuates, there is a lack of systematic engagement with power systems such as capitalism or heterosexism that underpin SU visions. A novel framework is presented that situates intersectional justice at the heart of SU. A mapping of 70 cases of ‘trouble’ with the promises of SU is used to address three core research questions: What are the ‘troubles’ with SU? To what extent are they intersectional? What can intersectionality add to the development of a just SU? The analysis shows how SU politics play out in relation to how users are understood and engaged, how different actors institutionalise SU and how dominant power systems are challenged. The presented strategy contributes to understanding not just the data politics in urban spaces, but also how they can be renegotiated and re-evaluated to solve multiple and interconnected urban crises without compromising on social justice.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This research received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement number 955422.
Uncontrolled Keywords: cities,data politics,internet of things,intersectionality,smart city,smart technology,smart urbanism,social justice,environmental science (miscellaneous),geography, planning and development,management, monitoring, policy and law,building and construction,urban studies,architecture ,sdg 11 - sustainable cities and communities ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300/2301
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Social Sciences
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Science, Society and Sustainability
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2023 16:30
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2023 09:30
DOI: 10.5334/bc.290


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