This post will be updated every time my research questions have changed. Current version: September 2020, closing the first year of research.

My investigation topic is the smart city. I am directing my attention in particular to the reuse of materials in cities and towns through initiatives aimed at and run by local actors. It is a critical take to the way waste management is often implemented by local governments. Instead of increasing the efficiency of waste collection and disposal (usually towards reycling, incineration or landfills), I expect to generate ideas that contribute to avoid as much as possible the very need to manage waste on the first time.

In other words, I am proposing the prevention of waste, or its avoidance, through repair and repurposing. The research entails discussions about the collective ownership, as well as local sovereignty, over discarded or unwanted materials.

Research questions

  • Can waste be considered an indicator of a city's health? In that sense, to what extent should it be hidden from public view or exposed widely?
  • In what ways can digital technologies be used to encourage the reuse of materials in urban contexts? Can IoT be used to help in assessing the value of discarded objects, repairing and repurposing them or making them reach people or organisations that can put them to good use?
  • What would be the implications of reusing materials with the aid of technologies vis-a-vis concerns of privacy, security and health?
  • What is the role of local governments in promoting waste prevention and how can that be embedded in smart city projects?
  • What do digital technologies have to offer in terms of promoting the social handling of second-hand materials? How to relate that to concepts of commons-based governance, social stewardship, multi-stakeholder cooperativism and circular economy?

See also

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