References of "Carr, Constance 50001193"
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See detailVertical (sub)urbanization in Zurich’s northeast: The Valley along the Glatt as both a metaphor and mediating structural element
Carr, Constance UL; McDonough, Evan

in Aguiar, Luis; Senese, Donna; French, Diana (Eds.) The Elgar Companion to Valleys: Social, Economic and Cultural Perspectives (in press)

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See detailMapping the clouds: The matter of data centres
Carr, Constance UL; Bast, Desmond UL; Madron, Karinne Lynda UL et al

in Journal of Maps (2022)

The social spatial geographies of telecommunications and their infrastructures have long interested scholars in the social sciences, and in urban geography specifically. This paper focuses on data centers ... [more ▼]

The social spatial geographies of telecommunications and their infrastructures have long interested scholars in the social sciences, and in urban geography specifically. This paper focuses on data centers. Much effort has been placed in preserving the notion that data centers are ‘clouds’, a terminology that obfuscates the real human geographies of cyberplaces. In this map-making exercise, we visualize the sociopolitical human geographies of data centers, and provoke the reader to consider the impacts that data centers have on residents and their environments. The maps shown in this paper suggest four trends. First, hyperscale data center owners are building near large waterways, signifying a shift in location preferences. Second, data centers stress local administrations, financing, and availability of upstream resources, as hyperscale data centers step up their input needs. Third, data center development is state-led. Fourth the competition for data center industries unfolds across a multi-level governance context. [less ▲]

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See detailTechnocratic urban development: Large digital corporations as power brokers of the digital age
Carr, Constance UL; Hesse, Markus UL

in Planning Theory and Practice (2022)

Large digital corporations such as Amazon.com or Alphabet Inc. are forging their position in cities by promoting themselves as the sole providers of so-called essential urban infrastructures. In this ... [more ▼]

Large digital corporations such as Amazon.com or Alphabet Inc. are forging their position in cities by promoting themselves as the sole providers of so-called essential urban infrastructures. In this paper, we reflect on how the behaviours of these current-day ‘tech giants’ are similar to those of the mid-20th century, a time period also known for dramatic infrastructural change in North American and Europe. Specifically, we are reminded of Robert Moses and how he pushed for infrastructural change in New York City and State, which were also supposedly the height of state-of-the-art urban planning at the time. He pushed his agenda, however, by brokering power and strong-arming the urban and regional development field. We reflect on Alphabet Inc.’s project in Toronto and Amazon’s search for a second headquarters in New York City and how these LDCs were similarly armed with executive and financial power and an ability to bully the field of urban development in their own interest. Behaving as digital-age power brokers, they engaged managerial-technocratic modes of urban governance to instigate projects that ultimately failed. We argue that Alphabet’s and Amazon’s strategies not only resemble those of Moses, but that all three deploy tactics that debase planning practice itself. [less ▲]

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See detailFour reasons why data centers matter, five implications of their social spatial distribution, one graphic to visualize them
Bast, Desmond; Carr, Constance UL; Madron, Karinne Lynda UL et al

in Environment and Planning A (2022)

Data centers constitute a new kind of telecommunications infrastructure that demands attention for four reasons. Data centers are under-examined in the social sciences literature, urban studies, in ... [more ▼]

Data centers constitute a new kind of telecommunications infrastructure that demands attention for four reasons. Data centers are under-examined in the social sciences literature, urban studies, in particular. Data centers present an under explored geography of cyberworlds. Large digital corporations such as Amazon or Google are expanding their role in urban infrastructural development (such as data centers), and it is necessary to research and explain this phenomenon. Data centers present challenges of urban governance. The graphic provided here visualizes the social spatial distribution of data centers in the Washington Metropolitan Area. There are four implications of their social spatial distribution. Data centers are concentrated in metropolitan areas. Data centers have a high demand for energy and water, competing with local residents for these resources. The DC industry is a state-led niche economy. The uneven distribution of data centers can invoke inter-county competition for tax revenue, in addition to access to the water, power, and land resources that data centers require. The scale of the problem is unknown because the input needs of many data centers are not publicly available. [less ▲]

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See detailOn the sociopolitical and institutional production of digital cities
Carr, Constance UL

Presentation (2022)

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See detailBackground on Urban and Regional Planning
Carr, Constance UL

in Brinkmann, R. (Ed.) . In: Brinkmann R. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Global Sustainability (2021)

Sustainable development has been a subject of urban planning for three decades now. Planners and practitioners now have a wealth of materials, catalogues, readers, and textbooks at their disposal that ... [more ▼]

Sustainable development has been a subject of urban planning for three decades now. Planners and practitioners now have a wealth of materials, catalogues, readers, and textbooks at their disposal that discuss local problems and practices. The problem, however, is that sustainable development is a very broad and often contradictory concept that is difficult to implement, and has since become a vector for market-led, exclusionary, urban development and planning. Little progress has been achieved, especially in regard to social equality. At the time of this writing, the global pandemic was also unfolding, which demanded priorities in health care on one hand and opened up new questions about sustainable development on the other. If sustainability and post-pandemic planning (for sustainability) is to be taken seriously, it is imperative to identify, reassert, and re-center social injustices in the productive processes that generate urban and regional spaces. There is a risk that social polarization will widen further still and that it too will be market-led as governments struggle with the crisis. Practitioners need to be careful about how people are included and can benefit from planning practice. There is inspiration from planning theory. Knowledge of public interest, differing epistemologies and ontologies, problems of racism and class, and a revival of kindness in political democratic are some ideas that publicly funded urban and regional planning offices can promote and assert – in the interests of sustainability. [less ▲]

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See detailPolicy failure in urban governance: the case of large digital corporations
Carr, Constance UL; Hesse, Markus UL

Presentation (2021)

This paper draws upon the branch of urban studies literature known as policy mobilities (McCann 2011) and, particularly, policy failure (Temenos & Lauermann 2020) to understand the strategic practices of ... [more ▼]

This paper draws upon the branch of urban studies literature known as policy mobilities (McCann 2011) and, particularly, policy failure (Temenos & Lauermann 2020) to understand the strategic practices of large digital corporations (LDCs) in urban development. While it is a relatively new phenomenon that LDCs are appearing as important actors in the field of urban development, their role has moved beyond being simply the producers of new technological products that supposedly make cities more efficient, green and smart. They are, for example, in the background, forging their central position in the functioning of cities by taking up space (land, water, bodies) for so-called essential urban infrastructures such as data centers (Carr 2021) needed to support their technologies. At the same time, they are also driving the production of what we refer to as their symbolic spaces of LDC-style digital cities. These are Amazon’s HQ2 and the digital city that was proposed by Sidewalk Labs Toronto (daughter firm of Alphabet Inc.), projects that epitomised both their importance in the field and the height of their technological innovation. Yet, striking about these cases is that, with the exception of the HQ2 in Arlington, these projects never materialized. In this paper, we argue that this was not a coincidence. Rather, both Amazon and Alphabet effectively mobilized a strategy of policy-making that has recently received attention in the urban studies literature: policy failure (Lovell 2017; Temenos & Lauermann 2020). Viewing these cases through the lens of policy failure shows that LDC-led digital cities is not so much about producing flashy cities equipped with avant-garde technologies as it is about endorsing a post-political mode of urban governance that drains public institutions of time and resources and reconfigures state-society relations. This is a cautionary tale for practitioners, who need to understand and watch out for the flags of this disingenuous behaviour. [less ▲]

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See detailUrban development led by large digital corporations
Carr, Constance UL

Presentation (2021)

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See detailDigital urban development - How large digital corporations shape the field of urban governance (DIGI-GOV)
Carr, Constance UL

Report (2021)

DIGI-GOV is a research project that aims to understand (I) the role of large digital corporations (LDCs) in digital urbandevelopment, (II) how the presence of LDCs in urban planning practice challenge pre ... [more ▼]

DIGI-GOV is a research project that aims to understand (I) the role of large digital corporations (LDCs) in digital urbandevelopment, (II) how the presence of LDCs in urban planning practice challenge pre-existing modes urban governance, and (III) how LDC-led urban development constitutes a new relational geography of digital cities. DIGI-GOV is thus a chance to call attention to this critical shift in the ways that contemporary digital cities are constructed, planned, mediated and governed. DIGI-GOV expands on prior research that examined Alphabet Inc.’s digital city project in Toronto that raised a number of important issues forurban planners, development practitioners, and urban studies scholars – even if this particular digital city project was ultimately unsuccessful. DIGI-GOV expands this research because the range of services that LDCs provide has increased in both volume and centrality; more and more public and private institutions rely on LDCs for essential digital infrastructures. There is an urgent need to study the trajectories of urbanization that are rolled out under the leadership of LDCs and the tensions in urban governance that are unleashed. DIGI-GOV will shed light on four further cities in addition to Toronto, which have been challenged by the presence of LDCs—namely, Seattle, Washington D.C, Bissen, and Eemshaven. The selected cities are some of the few exemplary cases available where LDCs have secured their position in the local urban field. Through qualitative methodological approaches, DIGI-GOV will tease out how these cities are relationally connected through LDC-led urban development, and what scholars and practitioners can learn from these experiences. Examined together, one can scratch at the surface of, and unearth, this new emerging relational geography. [less ▲]

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See detailWhen Alphabet Inc. plans Toronto's waterfront: New post-political modes of urban governance
Carr, Constance UL; Hesse, Markus UL

in Urban Planning (2020), 5(1), 69-83

‘Smart cities’ has become a hegemonic concept in urban discourses, despite substantial criticism presented by scholarly research and activism. The aim of this research was to understand what happens when ... [more ▼]

‘Smart cities’ has become a hegemonic concept in urban discourses, despite substantial criticism presented by scholarly research and activism. The aim of this research was to understand what happens when one of the big digital corporations enters the field of real estate and land use development and urban planning, how existing institutions respond to this, and how modes of urban governance are affected. Alphabet Inc.’s plans for Toronto’s waterfront provided insights into these questions. Our investigations traced a complex web of place-making practices that involved all levels of government, the general public, and networks of actors throughout the private sector. Methodologically, the discourse was reconstructed with local fieldwork, interviews with key actors, participating in tours and public meetings, and secondary sources. It was found that Alphabet Inc.’s plan to build a world-class digital city contained some lessons for urban studies and urban planning practice. First, Alphabet Inc.’s plans, which unfolded amidst initiatives to expand the knowledge economy, confirmed concerns that the trajectory of neoliberal, market-driven land use and speculation along the waterfront remains unchanged. Second, digital infrastructures are potentially a Trojan Horse. Third, it was seen that municipalities and their modes of urban planning are vulnerable to the political economic manoeuvrings of large corporate power. Fourth, Alphabet Inc. operates as a post-political package driven by a new coalition of politics, where the smart city is sold as a neutral technology. The controversies surrounding the project, however, stirred a civic discourse that might signal a return of the political. [less ▲]

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See detailMobility policy through the lens of policy mobility: The post-political case of introducing free transit in Luxembourg
Carr, Constance UL; Hesse, Markus UL

in Journal of Transport Geography (2020), 83

This viewpoint paper addresses the issue of fare-free public transport (FFPT) in the context of policy mobility, the strand of urban studies literature that examines how policy formulations developed in ... [more ▼]

This viewpoint paper addresses the issue of fare-free public transport (FFPT) in the context of policy mobility, the strand of urban studies literature that examines how policy formulations developed in one place tend to ‘travel’ and inform and inspire plans elsewhere as good or best practices. We argue that the promotion of policies may not reflect a serious attempt to solve a sustainability or socio-economic issue. Rather, the institutions in charge have different targets in mind. FFPT in Luxembourg is thus more a reflection of a post-political process where politics are severed from the political. [less ▲]

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See detailJust because they say it is sustainable development, it does not mean that it is: Sustainable development as a master-signifier in Swiss urban and regional planning
Carr, Constance UL

E-print/Working paper (2020)

With stunning green landscapes, exemplary public transport, and picturesque walkable cities, Switzerland often occupies the public imaginary of a place that has tackled sustainable development. This ... [more ▼]

With stunning green landscapes, exemplary public transport, and picturesque walkable cities, Switzerland often occupies the public imaginary of a place that has tackled sustainable development. This research, however, looks under the hood and finds that this development path supports not only modes of capital accumulation, but also certain less sustainable patterns of development and governance. This paper examines this apparent paradox by looking at the role of sustainable development as a master-signifier in Swiss urban development processes. Empirical observations were made in the Glatt Valley of Switzerland, where governing officials of small municipalities are confronted with coordinating urban development under growth pressure within cantonal and federal policy frameworks that claim sustainable development. It can be seen that sustainable development is an empty master-signifier that policy makers engage to justify the quilting of a certain hegemonic discourses of power that reflect in further uneven urban development. By reproducing business as usual market-led urban growth, fragmentation is maintained as are social spatial disparities are entrenched. [less ▲]

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See detailSidewalk Labs closed down – whither Google’s smart city?
Carr, Constance UL; Hesse, Markus UL

in Regions - E-Magazine (2020), (7),

This article was adapted, revised and updated from the original, “Sidewalk Labs is closing down – Lessons from Toronto’s realpolitik” published at Urbanization Unbound, the blogspot of urban geographers ... [more ▼]

This article was adapted, revised and updated from the original, “Sidewalk Labs is closing down – Lessons from Toronto’s realpolitik” published at Urbanization Unbound, the blogspot of urban geographers at the Department of Geography and Spatial Planning of the University of Luxembourg, edited by Constance Carr and Markus Hesse. [less ▲]

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