Mar 10, 2023
Interviewer: ZACHARY LOEB. The concept of “smart cities” promises better living through data and the software that can use it in real time to control urban systems. Law and Public Policy professor SHEILA FOSTER argues that, among the diverse populations that live in cities, which lives are actually improved by this technology – and which are arguably made worse – very much depends on who gets to participate in their design, implementation, and oversight. In her discussion with historian of science and technology Zachary Loeb, she contemplates whether the transition to smart-city technologies accelerated by the COVID pandemic is permanent; describes how both the amenities and disamenities are affected by new technology; and points to cities such as Barcelona that seem to be striking the right balance between innovation and justice. Foster is the co-author, with Christian Iaione, of Co-Cities: Innovative Transitions toward Just and Self-Sustaining Communities.