Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Research presented at Smart | City | Region symposium

Professor Judy Backhouse was a panellist at the GCRO’s Smart | City | Region Symposium on 26 August 2015, at the Digital Innovation Zone in Braamfontein. She presented some of the project’s research, looking at definitions of Smart Cities and how results show that resident’s expectations of Smart Cities are not homogeneous. Our research highlights the need for the kind of detailed data that the GCRO’s quality of life survey is producing, which enables us to look at specific kinds of residents, as well as the need for debate about the kind of Smart City initiatives that are pursued and who will benefit from them.

Judy Backhouse presenting our research at the symposium

The symposium included panellists from local and provincial government, business and researchers and debated questions such as: What does this mean for local and provincial government in a City-Region struggling with the adequate provision of services? Can smart city projects provide a city-regional solution to address key development and infrastructure problems in the Gauteng City-Region? Is smart city a catchy buzzword driven by corporate profit making with limited benefits for government and general public? Will a smart city approach slowly erode the democratic city as we know it, or produce new types of publics, ways of being and urban expressions that enhance urban society and culture?

Shado Masilela poses next to the seminar logo

Some of our students attended the symposium and took the opportunity to question panellists and to network. The symposium formed part of the Fak'ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival 2015.

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