Feb 10, 2023
Interviewer: ZACHARY LOEB. In the original formulation of urban theorist Jane Jacobs, “eyes on the street” linked public safety to the inadvertent effect of people going about their business and, in the process, monitoring their shared surroundings. In her recent work, media studies professor SHANNON MATTERN has explored how certain technologies, under the umbrella of “smart cities” or “urban tech,” have encroached on this and other ways that people have long managed to live together in cities. In her discussion with historian of science and technology Zachary Loeb, she discusses both the positive and negative impacts of urban surveillance and data collection and how we might, as individuals and communities, navigate between the uncritical embrace of technological mediation – based on either fear or a desire for convenience – and its total rejection. Mattern is the author of A City is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences.