In the global, data-driven smart city movement, digital data and big data analytics have become an unquestioned, obligatory passage point for administrative decision making at the federal, state, and city levels. This form of policymaking, referred to as data-driven governance, often takes place with and through designed data dashboards and visualizations. Here, seeing what the data says is proffered as a more accurate, perceptive, and efficient path to problem solving—for tracking anything from wildfires to viral outbreaks to economic crises. These burgeoning modes of administration have also generated an enormous market: the smart city infrastructure market is projected to increase by nearly 58 billion US dollars by 2026. 

New forms of data, and the smart infrastructures that generates it, allow for new opportunities to design for better cities and societies. However, as has been clear in its unfolding, deliberate design and already marginalized voices have not been incorporated into the smart city planning process. This talk will offer insight into the every day of becoming smart and data-driven and its social and material effects. These governing modes require new administrative techniques (e.g. data science) and new infrastructures (e.g. sensor networks). Accordingly, the global investment in smartness is reshaping the aesthetic and experiential constitution of urban spaces, as well as the labor of public administration—with lived consequences for the city’s most vulnerable communities.

Leah Horgan is a critical informatics scholar and designer whose work examines the intersection of technology, design, and urbanism. They are currently a Computing Innovation Fellow at Northeastern University working in the WEDJ (Wylie Environmental Data Justice) Lab. 

Who can attend?

Open to the public, the campus community, students, graduate students, undergraduates, postdocs, research scholars, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Light refreshments will be provided.
Registration is required.