Thaddeus Miller, associate professor at the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy, has coedited a special issue, “Urban Techno Politics,” of the journal Science as Culture, focused on how science and technology influence political and social structures in cities.
Miller coedited the issue with Rider W. Foley of the University of Virginia’s Department of Engineering and Society.
“New technologies like driverless vehicles and facial recognition are being deployed in communities all over the world,” Miller said. “They often come with promises of creating safer, more secure, and more sustainable cities. But, these technologies also come with risks and they may actually undermine other community goals and values.
“The work in this special issue looks at how technologies are being deployed in cities across the globe and questions the visions of urban futures they carry with them.”
Miller also wrote one of the issue’s articles, “Imaginaries of Sustainability: The Techno-Politics of Smart Cities.”
“Sustainability, particularly as articulated in cities, acts as an imaginary that shapes science, technology, and social order to attain desirable futures,” Miller writes in the article, which uses case studies from New York and London to examine the connections between advances in technology and progress toward environmental and social sustainability goals. “Proponents of smart cities tout the ability of technology and big data to accelerate democratization and public participation,” he writes, “yet these projects carry embedded assumptions about knowledge production, technological risks, public engagement, and broader visions of the good life.”
Other articles in the issue look at a range of techno-political approaches to environmental issues around the world, from the siting of a toxic-waste site in Phoenix to addressing traffic congestion in Bengaluru, India, to efforts to create a climate-neutral district in the city of Malmö, Sweden.
About the School of Public Policy: Established in 2016, the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy prepares students for leadership in public service. The program’s focuses include social change and public policy related to science and technology.
Contact: Maureen Turner, communications manager, School of Public Policy