Smart Cities are now a buzzword. While there is no consistent definition of what these cities are, these smart cities are urban spaces blanketed with ubiquitous and heterogeneous sensor networks that are constantly monitoring the vitality of the city. Such continuous surveillance raises deep political and ethical questions. It raises issues about institutional reconfiguration to manage and plan for these cities.

In this seminar, we will examine urban analytics platforms and interrogate them from variety of lenses, including privacy, equity and probity. We will examine the need and the structure of new governance mechanisms, delineations of rights, novel market transactions and social interactions.

The main objective of the course is to take a critical look at urban data infrastructure and its discontents. This includes understanding the design of data collection mechanisms, institutional dimensions of data production (e.g. administrative vs crowdsourced) and self-reinforcing feedback of analysis and production of data.

This is a companion course to PLAN 692: Urban Data Analytics, which deals with different analytic techniques. Students are encouraged to take them both.