Data-driven technological solutions for urban problems are proliferating in the form of smart city projects. While smart city innovations promise to reconfigure the infrastructure of cities and improve everyday life, there remains central challenges to understanding how smart cities will impact the public realm and how they may be shaped for more socially just and environmentally sustainable outcomes. In this talk, I discuss how researchers can collaborate with experts in engineering laboratories, city planning offices, technology start-ups and local communities to intervene in the process of producing a smart city. My central argument is that these forms of sociotechnical collaboration encourage greater reflexivity among experts in their everyday work on smart city technologies and programs, such as battery energy storage systems, air quality sensing networks and smart home apps. I demonstrate that engagement with communities provides concrete opportunities to build smart city technologies that are responsive to a broader set of societal values and concerns.
Anthony M. Levenda is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary. His research focuses on collaboratively designed, developed and implemented smart city technologies. He holds a doctorate in urban studies from Portland State University, a Master in Science in environmental engineering and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.