Seminar: Events and Urban Control by Ben Anderson and Rachel Gordon, 7 May

The fifth Programmable City seminar will take place on May 7th.  Based on some detailed ethnographic work, the paper will focus on the workings of control rooms in governing events.

Events and Urban Control
Ben Anderson and Rachel Gordon

Time: 16:00 – 18:00, Wednesday, 7 May, 2014
Venue: Room 2.31, 2nd Floor Iontas Building, North Campus NUI Maynooth (Map)

How do control rooms enable today’s networked urban life? And how are events grasped and handled from within control rooms as cities become known in new ways? The paper will hone in on how the events that interrupt urban life in the global north – the traffic accident, the delayed train, the power outage – are governed through control rooms; control rooms that are increasingly integrating an array of ‘smart’ technologies. Control rooms are sites for detecting and diagnosing events, where action to manage events is initiated in the midst multiple forms of ambiguity and uncertainty. By focusing on the work of control rooms, the paper will ask what counts as an event of interruption or disruption and trace how forms of control are enacted.

About the speakers
Dr Ben Anderson is a Reader in Human Geography at Durham University. Recently, he has become fascinated by how emergencies are governed and how emergencies govern. He currently leads a Leverhulme Trust International Network on the theme of ‘Governing Emergencies’, and is conducting a geneaology of the government of and by emergency supported by a 2012 Philip Leverhulme Prize. Previous research has explored the implications of theories of affect and emotion for contemporary human geography. This work will be published in a monograph in 2014: Encountering Affect: Capacities, Apparatuses, Conditions (Ashgate, Aldershot). He is also co-editor (with Dr Paul Harrison) of Taking-Place: Non-Representational Theories and Geography (2010, Ashgate, Aldershot).

Dr Rachel Gordon completed a ESRC-Funded PhD on the situated work of control rooms, with particular reference to transport systems and to how control rooms deal with complex urban systems. She currently coordinates an Leverhulme Trust international network on Governing Emergencies, after completing an EPSRC funded project on the relation between control rooms and smart technologies.

ProgCitySeminar5-Anderson and Gordon

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