“Technology’s Role in Civic Participation” by Mariam Asad, Carl DiSalvo, and Chris LeDantec

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Professors Carl DiSalvo and Chris LeDantec and PhD candidate Mariam Asad recently published an article entitled “Technology’s Role in Civic Participation” in Civic Quarterly. In this article, the authors consider the role of technologies in the development of smart cities. They explain that they have “found that computing not only amplifies human activities, but is also itself a participant by offering novel ways for people to engage with a particular social issue.” They look at the city from the perspective of object-oriented publics, which they explain is a concept of the city as “comprised of people, but also things—specifically, computational artifacts—that shape how people engage with issues.”

After walking through three different cases–Cycle Atlanta, activist technologies, and drone use for foraging–the piece emphasizes that while we can think of technologies as means to build the smart city, we can also use technologies to “reconsider our current understanding of cities.”