Critical Practice Assessment

My assignment consists of a Critical Practice assessment, based on a whiteboard animation video. It has great potential for storytelling. The video below is the draft version I have so far, and it is missing a voiceover, which is very important to guide the viewer through the story. (I hope you can use your imagination and get the general idea of the script!)

Based on Townsend’s (2013) and Sadowski’s (2015) descriptions of digital cities, I will focus on a few case studies that go beyond the existence of Digital Cities for digitalization-sake. The case studies we analyzed in previous lessons regarding drones is a good example (which I will not repeat here) about the use of digital technology in developing countries, and how digital cities are used as a means to an end. The end being, in this case, the contribution to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.

Townsend’s last paragraph from his introduction to smart cities has resonated with me: “I believe there is a better way to build smart cities than to simply call in the engineers. We need to lift up the civic leaders who would show us a different way. We need to empower ourselves to build future cities organically, from the bottom up, and do it in time to save ourselves from climate change.” (Townsend 2013, page 18).

I will focus on one case study, very close to my heart as I was the Project Manager for the content development component of the initiative. In Argentina, the province of San Luis has gone digital by enabling free Wi-Fi for all citizens as well as implementing a “one laptop per child” educational programme in primary schools. This addresses sustainable development goal number 4, Quality Education. It is a good example of a retrofitted and renovated digital city in a developing country, as well as a good example of the multidisciplinary approach needed to make an impact. The involvement of IT engineers, urban planners, ICT professionals and IT suppliers, education experts, pedagogues, sociologists, teachers, government officials, and last but not least, students and families, well are necessary to implement this programme.

The objectives of this assignment will be:

  1. To frame the concept of Digital Cities using Sadowski’s and Townsend’s theories
  2. To link digital cities to the development context through a case study taking place in a developing country
  3. To link the case study to a specific Sustainable Development Goal
  4. To describe the impact of digitalization in development
  5. To highlight the multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach required to ensure the digitlization of a city, especially in a developing country, produces the outcomes and impacts desired.

I was thinking of including a second case study referring to Goal number 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. However, I noticed that there is a lot more to explore with regards to digital cities and Goal number 4. For example:

  • What roles do the stakeholders mentioned in the video have?
  • What is the role of IT alone in achieving Goal 4?
  • What were the failures and lessons learned from similar initiatives, like the one laptop per child initiative?
  • More references to theory from our weekly assignments
  • Include a video/additional multimedia to the whiteboard to expand Goal 4

Let me know your thoughts!


One thought on “Critical Practice Assessment

  1. Hi Mercedes,
    I like how you have developed the story board and connected the elements – from the smart city definition, to how smart cities develop, different types of cities and finally to your focus which is a ‘retrofitted and renovated’ city where free public WIFI enables children to learn in a new collaborative way that contributes towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4.

    Mine are suggestions for linking practical with a theory/concept discussed before. You could consider the concept of public space as media space (Berry et al, 2013), since I think your case study represents an addition of a digital technology layer to a public space – a classroom and demonstrates how wireless technology and media have broken down the boundaries of urban public spaces, which is now connected to wireless mediated space. (P8).

    Kitchin & Dodge (2011) explore code/space, and how coded infrastructures are both networks that links coded objects together and infrastructures that are monitored and regulated, fully or in part, by software. I see public WIFI as an example of a coded infrastructure. It is also an example of a transformative technology that is enabling a shift from an industrial to postindustrial society by altering the conditions through which social and economic relations take place. (p11). I would add the educational element as clearly from your example the presence of public WIFI is bringing transformation for children to learn and collaborate in different ways than before.

    Berry, C., Harbord, J. & Moore, R.O., 2013. Public space, media space, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan:
    Kitchin, R. & Dodge, M., 2011. Code/space software and everyday life, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press

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