A few weeks ago Ayona Datta, a senior lecturer in “Citizenship and Belonging” at the University of Leeds, spoke to an audience in Maynooth about the emergence of smart urbanism in India and the proliferation of the smart city discourse in the country. Titled ‘Fast Cities: New Utopias of Smart Urbanism in India’, Dr. Datta’s talk was the second seminar of this academic year from the ongoing Programmable City Project. Focusing mainly on the development of fast/smart cities in her native country, the talk also complimented a number of additional critiques of smart city initiatives that have gained resonance such as: associated technological solutionism; the depoliticalisation of the concept; the development of a project solely for an emerging tech-savvy, middle class; and the strategic framing of the concept in the near distant future amongst other notable issues. Continue reading
We are delighted to welcome Ayona Datta to Maynooth on Monday 3rd November for the second of our Programmable City seminars this semester. Ayona Datta is Senior Lecturer in Citizenship and Belonging at the University of Leeds. Ayona’s research and writing focuses on the gendered processes of citizenship and the gendered politics of urban renewal and urbanization across the global north and south. Ayona is the author of The Illegal City: Space, law and gender in a Delhi squatter settlement (2012) and is editor of Translocal Geographies: Spaces, Places, Connections (2011).
The seminar will focus on the development of smart cities in India. In 2014, the newly elected Indian government announced an ambitious programme of building 100 new smart cities across India. These cities are presented as the answer to the challenges of rural-urban migration, rapid urbanisation, and sustainable development in India. Ayona’s seminar will examine these claims by focussing on two Indian ‘smart cities’ being built from scratch.