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About CaP

In an age of smart technology, big data, and the concomitant threat of a surveillance society, how do we understand the citizen's right to the city and how that right is manifested?

Led by an interdisciplinary group of scholars, City as Platform analyzes smart city urban design using the methods of critical data analytics and ethnographic fieldwork across the three research cities, London, UK; New York, US; and Toronto, CA.

Key to a transformation from techno-centric to human-centered design, City as Platform locates three stakeholders: municipal, industry, and civic actors.

Our methods:

1. Conduct environmental scans of data policy & practices

2. Assess smart technology infrastructures

3. Execute fieldwork with smart city stakeholders

4. Model equitable, accessible, and generative futures for smart cities


Beth Coleman

DIRECTOR of city as platform lab

Dr. Beth Coleman is Associate Professor of Experimental Digital Media at the University of Waterloo where she directs the City as Platform Lab. Her work focuses on smart technology, big data, and civic engagement. Her practice engages research methods and design inquiry towards the creation of public, civic, and aesthetic works.

She had published the monograph Hello Avatar: Rise of the Networked Subject (MIT Press). Prior to joining the University of Waterloo she taught at the MIT Media lab in the Comparative Media Studies program. Her research affiliations include the UWaterloo Games Institute, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, and expert consultant for the European Commission Digital Futures.

She is the co-founder of SoundLab Cultural Alchemy, an internationally acclaimed multimedia art and sound platform, with an international exhibition history that includes the Whitney Museum of American Art; Récollets, Paris; Waag Society, Amsterdam; among others. Her work has been supported by grants from the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Microsoft Research, the Knight Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She is currently a visiting professor at Data & Society Research Institute, New York.