Gregory situates the privatization of space and information as core components of “smart urbanism” and invite us to critically consider a more participatory and equitable mode of development that accounts for both a “right to the city” and a “right to research” for everyday people, especially youth. As urban youth grow up with smart phones and within smart homes, classrooms, and cities, their routines generate troves of data on daily life that are mined for both governance and profit. Despite being both a frequent source and object of this data mining, urban youth are among the least likely to be given a meaningful role in this process of knowledge production.
Meanwhile, as urban economies become oriented toward digital and creative industry, gentrification is accelerated to make space for an incoming young, affluent, highly educated, and largely white, workforce. Although this emerging urban platform is mythologized as a more socially, environmentally, and economically efficient frontier, its creative destruction has been unevenly distributed among residents and across neighborhoods. Despite the big data shaping, and being shaped by, smart urbanism, more attention must be paid to the historical geography of inequity and injustice reproduced through these uneven forms of proprietary knowledge and spatial production.
Gregory Donovan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies as well as an affiliate faculty member of the New Media and Digital Design Program, the Urban Studies Program, and the Urban Law Center at Fordham University. Gregory received his Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology with a doctoral certification in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy from the CUNY Graduate Center and his research explores the mutual shaping of people, place, and proprietary media, and how to reorient such shaping toward more just and meaningful publics. He is also Co-Chair of the Digital Humanities Working Group at Fordham, a member of the Editorial Collective of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, and a founder of the OpenCUNY Academic Medium at the CUNY Graduate Center. You can find Gregory on the web at http://gtd.nyc and on Twitter at @gdonovan.
Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.