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  4. HCID Seminar - What Else Could a Sustainable Smart City Be?




HCID Seminar - What Else Could a Sustainable Smart City Be?




Speakers: Sara Heitlinger , Newcastle University

Series: HCID Research Seminars


Environmental concerns have driven an interest in sustainable smart cities, through the monitoring and optimisation of networked infrastructure processes. At the same time, there are concerns about who these interventions and services are for, and who benefits. HCI researchers and designers interested in civic life have started to call for the democratisation of urban space through resistance and political action to challenge state and corporate claims, by involving citizens in the design of Internet of Things particularly in the context of marginalised and ethnically diverse urban communities. I will present a case study that involved co-designing networked environmental sensors, data visualisation, and an interactive seed library to support sustainable food practices with urban agricultural communities as an example of a design research project in this space. I will discuss how the study surfaces three alternative visions of what sustainable smart cities could be – The More-than-Human City, the Slow City, and the Commons-based City – and reflect on the role of design and HCI in creating more socially and environmentally just urban space.

About the Speaker:

My research interests are in participatory design, sustainability, smart cities, and more-than-human worlds. In my current research, I am developing creative methods such as Speculative Participatory Design to increase participation of diverse citizens in the design of digital technologies for urban food futures, and interrogating how the visions produced counter traditional top-down, technocentric, and utilitarian narratives of the eco-smart-city. I am also interested in the ways in which humans and other species participate and stake a claim in the digital urban commons.

Before joining Newcastle University, I was a Researcher Co-Investigator on Connected Seeds and Sensors, an 18-month EPSRC-funded Research in the Wild – Internet of Things (IoT) project based at Queen Mary University of London, where I investigated co-designing digital technologies with urban agricultural communities to support more sustainable food consumption and production in the city. The project involved smart sensors, data collection, and an interactive seed library to raise awareness, empower communities and increase participation in sustainable urban food practices. Connected Seeds and Sensors grew out of my PhD work, which I completed at the Media and Arts Technology Doctoral Training Centre at QMUL. I also have an established career as an independent, award-winning artist and designer. My project Priviled Tactics I (together with Franc Purg), won a UNESCO Digital Art Award, and dealt with the topic of urban sustainability and Internet of Things. My commitment to furthering environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive cities underpins my role as a trustee for the charity Spitalfields City Farm in east London, where I help advise on strategy and management.

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When and where

1.00pm - 1.00pmFriday 2nd November 2018

B103 University Building City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom