This two-year research network aims to engender current smart city agendas through young women’s everyday experiences of navigating and living in the city. It will present digital stories of mobility and safety curated by young women living in urban peripheries – resettlement colonies, urban villages and border towns. Using participatory maps, photographs, music, videos, Wikipedia pages and WhatsApp diaries maintained by these women over a period of time, this project will explore how women on the margins view, understand, and ultimately navigate the city through information and communication technologies (ICT) accessed from low-cost mobile phones. It provokes us to think what the city means in a context where social media provides real time information on the dangers and freedoms located in the metro, bus, e-rickshaws, and walkways as well as the opportunity to express this in creative and poignant ways. It shows us how women living on the urban peripheries negotiate the ‘freedoms’ of moving in online space with the ‘dangers’ of going out into the city, or the limitations of engaging via digital technologies with the freedom of stepping out of one’s home. Through a convergence of artistic practice, digital media and architecture, this network will co-produce with participants, a new kind of visual language on the gendered city. It will reveal the capacity of this language to move beyond existing gendered data on violence against women to highlight gendered and socio-economic patterns of inclusions and exclusions brought about by a digital urban age.
The activities will be delivered through exhibitions and participatory and stakeholder workshops which will share knowledge, build capacity and explore how smart city agendas can be gendered through the voices, experiences and digital practices of gendered citizens.
The network will culminate in a symposium and exhibition in London to foster long-term international collaborations on gendering the smart city across UK and India.