Fall 2020 – MUI 1075: Digital Cities


Calendar Description

This course provides an overview of how the emergence of digital technologies are shaped by, and shape, cities.  Students will use case studies to consider the successes and challenges associated with cities in the digital age. Consideration will be given to issues of governance and equity and the roles of public, private and not-for-profit actors.

Course Goals

Through this course, you will achieve the following:

  1. Develop an in-depth understanding of the ways that digitization and cities interact
  2. Build ability to assess challenges & opportunities connected to digitization and urban change
  3. Learn to synthesize, evaluate and communicate knowledge about digital cities concepts

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Navigate connections between scholarship and practice/policy
  2. Engage in discussion about challenges and opportunities connected to course themes
  3. Develop informed recommendations based on place-based and organization-based needs
  4. Design and deliver professionally-oriented material

Week 1: Introduction

Brail, S. and Donald, B. 2020. Digital Cities: contemporary issues in urban policy and planning in Canadian Cities in Transition, sixth edition, edited by Moos, M., Vinodrai, T. and Walker, R. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 70-86.

Sadowski, J. (2020). Who owns the future city? Phases of technological urbanism and shifts in sovereignty. Urban Studies. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0042098020913427

Digital Cities: Week One Introductory Video

Week 2: The Digital Turn

Ash, J., Kitchin, R., & Leszczynski, A. (2018). Digital turn, digital geographies? Progress in Human Geography, 42(1), 25–43. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132516664800

Graham, S. and Marvin, S., 2001. Splintering urbanism: networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition. London: Routledge.10.4324/9780203452202. – Chapter 7

The Economist. (2017, October 31) Transforming Cities with Technology

Digital Cities: Week Two Trailer

Week 3: Race/Inequality

Benjamin, R. 2019. Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. (Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 5).

Wood, A. J., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., & Hjorth, I. (2019). Good Gig, Bad Gig: Autonomy and Algorithmic Control in the Global Gig Economy. Work, Employment and Society, 33(1), 56–75. https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017018785616

Buolamwini, J.  (2016, November). How I’m fighting bias in algorithms.

Week 4: Concentration / Agglomeration

Adler, P., Florida, R., King, K., & Mellander, C. (2019) The city and high tech startups: The spatial organization of Schumpetarian entrepreneurship. Cities, 87, 121-130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2018.12.013

Brail, S. (2020). Unicorns, Platforms, and Global Cities: The Economic Geography of Ride-Hailing. Urban Platforms and the Future City: Transformations in Infrastructure, Governance, Knowledge, and Everyday Life. https://doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2020.1775030

Scoring Tech Talent 2020 Scoring Tech Talent. (2020, July). CBREUS. https://www.cbre.us/research-and-reports/Scoring-Tech-Talent-in-North-America-2020

Week 5: Policy & the Digital City

Datta, A. (2018). The digital turn in postcolonial urbanism: Smart citizenship in the making of India’s 100 smart cities. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 43(3), 405–419. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12225

Flores, O., & Rayle, L. (2017). How cities use regulation for innovation: the case of Uber, Lyft and Sidecar in San Francisco. Transportation Research Procedia, 25, 3756–3768.

Freemark, Y., Hudson, A., & Zhao, J. (2019). Are Cities Prepared for Autonomous Vehicles?: Planning for Technological Change by U.S. Local Governments. Journal of the American Planning Association, 85(2), 133–151. https://doi.org/10.1080/01944363.2019.1603760

Small, Takara. (2020, July). Tech Town https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/tech-town/id1523681436?i=1000486262503

Week 6: Platform Economy

Kenney, M., & Zysman, J. (2016, March 29). The Rise of the Platform Economy | Issues in Science and Technology. https://issues.org/the-rise-of-the-platform-economy/

Langley, P., & Leyshon, A. (2017). Platform capitalism: The intermediation and capitalization of digital economic circulation. Finance and Society, 3(1), 11–31. https://doi.org/10.2218/finsoc.v3i1.1936

JPMorgan Chase Institute. (2018, September). The Online Platform Economy in 2018. https://institute.jpmorganchase.com/institute/research/labor-markets/report-ope-2018

Week 7: Platform Economy in Practice

Attoh, K., Wells, K., & Cullen, D. (2019). “We’re building their data”: Labor, alienation, and idiocy in the smart city. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 37(6), 1007–1024. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263775819856626

Sanyal, M. F. & Romola. (2018). Platform economies and urban planning: Airbnb and regulated deregulation in London – Mara Ferreri, Romola Sanyal, 2018. Urban Studies. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0042098017751982

Zhang, Y., Farber, S., & Young, M. (2020). The Benefits Of On-Demand Transit In Belleville: Findings From A User Survey. https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/100570

Week 8:  Circular Economy

Frenken, K., & Schor, J. (2017). Putting the sharing economy into perspective. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 23, 3–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2017.01.003

Zvolska, L., Lehner, M., Palgan, Y. V., Mont, O., & Plepys, A. (2019). Urban sharing in smart cities: The cases of Berlin and London. Local Environment, 24(7), 628–645. https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2018.1463978

Arnold, A. (2020, February 4). Berlin’s sharing economy is not dead—Shared Ownership. Shareable. https://www.shareable.net/berlins-sharing-economy-is-not-dead-it-just-needed-a-reboot/

Week 9:  Smart Cities

Clark, J. (2020). Uneven Innovation: The Work of Smart Cities. Columbia University Press. Chapters 5 & 6.

Taylor Shelton, Matthew Zook, Alan Wiig, The ‘actually existing smart city’, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2015, Pages 13-   25,  https://doi.org/10.1093/cjres/rsu026

McKinsey. 2018, June 5. Smart city technology for a more liveable future. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/capital-projects-and-infrastructure/our-insights/smart-cities-digital-solutions-for-a-more-livable-future

Week 10:  Platform Urbanism

Barns, S. (2020). Platform Urbanism: Negotiating Platform Ecosystems in Connected Cities. Springer Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-32-9725-8  Chapters 3, 5 and 9.

Caprotti, F., & Liu, D. (2019). Emerging platform urbanism in China: Reconfigurations of data, citizenship and materialities. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 119690. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2019.06.016

Barns, S.  (2014, August 1) “Platform Urbanism” Research Summary. 

Week 11: Governing digital cities

Carr, C., & Hesse, M. (2020). When Alphabet Inc. Plans Toronto’s Waterfront: New Post-Political Modes of Urban Governance. Urban Planning, 5(1), 69–83. https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v5i1.2519

Rebentisch, H., Thompson, C., Côté-Roy, L., & Moser, S. (2020). Unicorn planning: Lessons from the rise and fall of an American ‘smart’ mega-development. Cities, 101, 102686. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2020.102686

Week 12: What future?

Graham, E. M., Kitchin, R., Mattern, S., & Shaw, J. (2019). How to run a city like Amazon, and other fables. Meatspace Press.

Kenney, M., & Zysman, J. (2020). The platform economy: Restructuring the space of capitalist accumulation. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 13(1), 55–76. https://doi.org/10.1093/cjres/rsaa001

Toyota reveals the WOVEN CITY program: studying cities of the future (2020, January 6).