More-than-Human Urban Futures: Walking towards speculative participatory design to avoid ecocidal smart cities (Group CITY (Sustainability)

The turn to participation within smart cities has so far struggled to address a human-exceptionalist notion of cities, where urban space is designed for, and inhabited by, humans only. Within the age of the Anthropocene – a term used to refer to a new geological era in which human activity is transforming earth systems, accelerating climate change and causing mass extinctions – a human-centred perspective is increasingly seen as untenable. This presents opportunities to not only develop innovative participatory approaches in more-than-human worlds, as a way to overcome problematic narratives of human privilege and exceptionalism, but also to question what participation could mean in our existing and future urban cohabitation.

We invite people for a speculative participatory walk to grapple and play with early outcomes of an associated workshop for more-than-human worlds, bringing together insights from an interdisciplinary group of designers, practitioners, and researchers to explore what it means to co-imagine sustainable smart cities. The walk is intended as an embodied and social exploration of how we might work towards environmentally and socially just post-anthropocentric smart cities. By taking into account the situated politics of multispecies interdependency we aim to surface alternative visions of inclusive sustainable democratic participation.

Project by Rachel Clarke, Sara Heitlinger, Marcus Foth, Carl DiSalvo, Ann Light and Laura Forlano