18 - 19 September

Worlding smart cities: A view from Latin America


Claudia Fonseca Alfaro and Lorena Melgaço will present a paper within the panel Rethinking smart city scholarship at the Beyond Smart Cities Today symposium.

Abstract: The potential and challenges triggered by the increasing use of digital technology in cities, the appearance of technology-driven models of urban development, and the growing popularity of the smart city paradigm have caught the attention of critical scholars—such as Marvin, Luque-Ayala and Kitchin—seeking to study the phenomenon from a sociopolitical perspective. There is a growing sense of urgency to both expand the understanding of what smart entails in the global South (as foregrounded by the work of scholars such as Datta, Odendaal and Watson) and investigate the ‘actually existing smart city’. Drawing on postcolonial urban theory and decolonial scholarship, this paper explores two cases in Mexico and Brazil to interrogate the smart city from a Latin American perspective and deploy the practices of what Aihwa Ong and Ananya Roy refer as ‘worlding.’ With this our aim is to contribute to decentring the ‘locus of enunciation’ of urban theory.