March 2020 Special Issue of the ‘Annals of the AAG’ on Smart Spaces and Places Now Available
Every year since 2009 our flagship journal, the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, has published a special issue that highlights geographic research around a significant global theme.
The twelfth special issue of the Annals, published in March 2020, brings together 21 articles plus an introduction, edited by Ling Bian, on smart spaces and places. Over a two-year period, papers that address how ‘smart’ technologies have advanced rapidly throughout society and across geographic spaces and places were sought from a variety of backgrounds. Authors were encouraged to explore theoretical, methodological, and empirical approaches to address questions such as how to make spaces and places ‘smart’, how the ‘smartness’ affects the way we perceive, analyze, and visualize spaces and places, and what role geographies play in knowledge production and decision making in such a ‘smart’ era.
In this special issue, spaces and places are understood broadly from a range of views, including social, cultural, political, ethical, legal, economic, behavioral, ontological, and cognitive perspectives. To help facilitate discussion, the special issue is divided into four thematic areas: (1) spaces, places, and smart-ness; (2) analytical smartness; (3) critical smartness; and (4) smart sustainability and policy. What emerges is a critical conversation around the topic of smartness where the central arguments being made independently by each of the authors serve to complement rather than contradict the conclusions of one another. Therefore, several cross cutting themes surrounding smart technologies are brought to the surface throughout the special issue. Authors press for the need to conceive of space as relational and more than its absolute coordinates. Smart urban governance is also of primary importance to several authors as they approach how to adopt and adapt to these new technologies.
The 21 articles included in this special issue each bring their own position to the developing smart landscape. Some of the topics explored in the issue include the public’s reaction to the introduction of smart technologies in spaces as varied as music festivals or the workplace; the types of research possibilities that are capable through the use of smart technology such as detecting exposure to pollution or locations of abandoned houses; questions of representation and diversity within smart data production; and the host of considerations that must be taken into account when implementing smart technology in policy, infrastructure, and food and transportation systems.
While “the collection of articles in this special issue showcases the breadth and depth of research in spaces, places, and smartness,” special issue guest editor Ling Bian argues the issue “is far from being comprehensive, but serves to foster further intellectual exchanges. Although it might take time for the discipline to fully grasp whether new geographic paradigms have or will arise when society moves into the smart era, new challenges will always advance the discipline forward.”
Special Issue: Smart Spaces and Places
Table of Contents
The Annals of the American Association of Geographers publishes six times a year (January, March, May, July, September and November). See the table of contents (below) of the Smart Spaces and Places special issue or go to the T&F website to access the full articles. If you are interested in submitting a paper to the Annals, please refer to the information for authors.