MICA HOSTS INSIGHTFUL DISCUSSION ON DIGITAL CITIES: AGENCY, ACTION AND ACCESS | Press Release

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Ahmedabad, February 29, 2016

On the morning of February 29th, MICA Hosted an panel discussion on ‘Digital Cities: Agency, Action and Access. It was chaired by Assistant Professor Pooja Thomas from MICA. The event saw participation from professors of different universities who discussed the issue at hand.

In the Indian imagery, the city has often been encountered, negotiated and defined as the site of agency. In popular culture, the city is accessed as the flight from a rural past even as it has entailed the conflicted discovery of the historically and politically evolving subject (Nandy 2001). In the post-independence period, the city has been particularly amenable to articulations of an indigenous modernity, to the architectural expression of new found political agency (Burte 2011).

More recently, cities in India have been at the core of re-branding exercises for the nation where the digital city, the smart city, is to provide liberating solutions for living and trading. As is well known,a substantial population continue to experience the city in terms of their lack of access to technology, to basic public transport, to education, to municipal facilities (let alone the internet) among others.

Internet-blackouts imposed by governments and universities, fearing the use of social media in strengthening rumour and local agitation, briefly produce spaces that variously but simultaneously experience the denial of access. At a time when social websites can brazenly promise ‘freedom’ from institutionalised inaccessibility and democratic governments censor, prohibit and punish, how do we understand the idea of access?

In other words, what dialectics emerge when Indian cities promise to go digital? When viewed from the perspective of spatial, political and material exclusion, what forms of agency, action and access are (im)possible? 

These were some of the questions raised and answered in the 2 hour long session. It addressed the impact of digital cities on the social, economic and political framework.

Discussants:

Consent and Contestation in the Making of Participatory Spaces

Lalitha Kamath, Associate Professor, Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, TISS Mumbai

The Unintended Commons: Of Use, Abuse and reuse of city spaces

Nishant Shah, Professor, Institute of Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media,  Leuphana University, Germany

Transforming Public Spaces in Indian Cities

PratyushShankar , Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Architecture. CEPT Ahmedabad
Senior Humboldt Fellow, Universität Bonn, Germany

Contesting Utopias: Moral Geography of New Urban Social Movements in India

T TSreekumar, Professor and Head, Digital Communications, MICA Ahmedabad

Chair: Pooja Thomas, Assistant Professor, Communication Area, MICA

About MICA

Established in 1991, MICA is the first residential institute in the country and perhaps in the Asia-Pacific region, dedicated to creating Leadership in Strategic Marketing and Communication.

Its spirit lies in its grasping of contemporariness, addressing the needs of an ever-changing environment. The MICA brand assures effective delivery of Strategic Marketing and Communication solutions to the industry, government and community.

Today, it is the alma mater of professionals serving in leadership positions in some of the best known companies in India and the world, in marketing, brand management, research & analytics, advertising, media, digital and other strategic marketing and communication-driven businesses.

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