Executive Director, Research ICT Africa; Adjunct Professor, University of Cape Town
Policy frameworks to limit the inequality amplified by digitisation and datafication.
About the work
Cyborg urbanisation for Smart Townships: we apply a Haraway cyborg interpretative analytical framework as an alternative lens to the technological and economic determinism that characterises the network metaphor of Smart (global) Cities that emphasises quantification and scale over everyday functions. Cyborg urbanisation extends our analysis of flows and structures to include the ‘unconventional’ and dislocated urban landscapes that have emerged outside the core metropolitan regions of the world economy, where incongruities and displacements are an even more pervasive feature of the urban experience and where those existing at the intersections of class, race, gender inequalities and xenophobic discrimination are concentrated.
The conceptualisation of Smart Township explores ways in which demand side valuation in the allocation of advanced technological resources (IOTs, Smart CCTV and so on), are usually allocated in the commercial supply side valuation of them, resulting in their allocation to business centres and affluent suburban areas, which already receive public services and are often enhanced by the additional private provision of security and high-speed communications infrastructure, which exacerbate social and spatial inequalities. These resources could be diverted to informal settlements, where the most marginalised are concentrated and there is greatest public and social demand for security (CCTV/facial recognition), improved public sanitation (IOT monitoring), fire detection and insurance (IOT) etc. Accompanied by capacity building for the most marginalised, the allocation of advanced technologies could ameliorate inequalities and enable more equitable social and economic participation.