Rethinking Smart UrbanismCity-Making and the Spread of Digital Infrastructures in Nairobi Prince K. Guma

Rethinking Smart Urbanism is an empirical exploration of the multiple ways in which cities and infrastructures are constructed and reconstructed through ICT innovation and appropriation. Drawing on the case of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, the study explains existing infrastructure constellations through countervailing processes and rationalities in the context of splintered urbanism.

Rethinking Smart Urbanism is an empirical exploration of the multiple ways in which cities and infrastructures are constructed and reconstructed through ICT innovation and appropriation. Drawing on the case of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, the study explains existing infrastructure constellations through countervailing processes and rationalities in the context of splintered urbanism. In doing so, the study examines the relationship between urban plans and digital infrastructure development, place-based contexts that shape digital infrastructures, and the extent to which these infrastructures facilitate utility companies’ ambitions of extending centralized networks to new territories. It draws on the theoretical and empirical base of urban and infrastructure studies, particularly in the fields of smart urbanism, postcolonial urbanism, and Science and Technology Studies. Methodologically, the study adopts a qualitative research design and presents in-depth case studies that combine ethnographic methods with a thorough investigation of written sources. Ultimately, it is hoped to enhance our understanding of urban and digital possibilities, and add new insights to debates on technology and urbanity in Africa and beyond.

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Rethinking Smart Urbanism

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