Big Data, Urban Citizenship, and the World Machine

Urban public spaces are increasingly sutured with a range of surveillance and sensor technologies claiming to enable new forms of “data based citizen participation,” but often leading to “function-creep,” whereby vast amounts of data are gathered, stored, and analysed in a broad application of urban surveillance. This kind of monitoring and capacity for surveillance connects with attempts by civic authorities to regulate, restrict, rebrand, and reframe urban public spaces and the communities located there. A direct consequence of the increasingly security driven, policed, privatised, and surveilled nature of public space is the exclusion or “unfavourable inclusion” of those considered flawed and unwelcome in the “spectacular” consumption spaces of many major urban centres. This paper considers alternative scenarios, suggesting that cities, places, and spaces and those who seek to use them, can be resilient in working to maintain and extend democratic freedoms and processes, calling sensor and surveillance systems to account. This better informs the implementation of public policy around the design, build, and governance of public space. Moreover, understandings of urban citizenship, social rights, and participation in the sensor saturated, “Big Data” urban environment are interrogated through consideration of forms of citizenship, extending the work of Marshall and Bottomore (1950) by looking at Insurgent and also Ecological citizenships.

Mega-Urbanization in China: Rural-Urban Synthesis as a Foundation for Sustainability

In the first part of the twenty-first. century China still faces ongoing challenges of maintaining economic growth while simultaneously creating a more equitable, just, and sustainable society. This issue is set within the context of the rapid growth of mega-urban regions in the East Asian region. Central to this challenge is addressing the deep and growing economic disparities between rural and urban areas and creating a more balanced relationship, particularly in agriculture and food supply which are effected by the spatial spread of urbanization. The key challenges of increasing productivity of food production and the effectiveness of the food supply system pivot on the rapidly urbanizing mega-urban regions of China illustrated by the case study of the lower Yangzi delta mega-urban region. These changes are occurring because of increased urban and international demand for diversified food and industrial crops, loss of good agricultural land, changes in food distribution in response to increased urban and export demand, increased competition for resources such as land and labor, and environmental problems caused by global climate change and pollution. While these outcomes are viewed by some as the inevitable consequences of the twin forces of China’s national economic growth and globalization, we invoke the concepts of synergetic and eco-capital to argue for the development of policies promoting rural-urban synthesis that present a more comprehensive response to the simultaneous challenges of economic growth and environmental and social sustainability.

Microaggression and the Marketplace

This study emerges from an understanding of the concept of racial microaggression and from questions arising about the ways in which it might be perceived to exist and manifest across the spectrum of marketing-related communications. The term “racial microaggression” was proposed originally during the 1970s by Chester M. Pierce, a psychiatrist, and referred to as subtle, mundane verbal or non-verbal indignities directed toward black Americans, and, generally, not recognized as such by their perpetrators. In more recent years, researchers have expanded the parameters of research, examining microaggression toward other marginalized populations, predicated on gender, culture, sexual identity/orientation, or disability. In this context, various studies have examined the phenomenon in academic, professional, social and public settings, and it has been the focus of active discussion in academic and professional circles. Given the ubiquity of marketing-related communications, both verbal and nonverbal, delivered through a variety of mediated and in-person experiences, and their immense influence on consumer thought and behavior, it is, thus, inviting to turn a lens in that direction. A racially- and culturally-diverse group of graduate students in integrated marketing communications were asked their perceptions of the existence of microaggression (broadly interpreted, extending beyond race) in marketing communications, and to describe the ways in which they see it expressed. Further, the implications for marketers in the age of increasing market diversity both domestically and internationally are identified.