Technical Citizenry and Smart Bikeshare
Contemporary or ‘smart’ bikeshare schemes have exploited the capacity of information and communications technologies to effectively automate systems and deliver improved mobility and convenience for citizens in a way that is both sympathetic to the environment and cost effective for service providers. Despite its proliferation however, there is a growing consensus that smart bikeshare is a technology appropriated by elite interests with its design and implementation typically favouring ‘special people and places’. This is evident in uneven service distribution and in configurations which preferentially exclude already marginalized groups. Using a lens derived from Andrew Feenberg’s critical theory of technology, this research reports on a case study of a system from Hamilton, Canada, which demonstrates the potential of reflexive design practices to address these issues and produce new sociotechnical arrangements which understand citizens as active participants in the innovation process. The scheme was seen to embody the concept of collaborative infrastructing, with institutional expertise and lay experience combining in coherent ways to create a technology which embodies a diverse but complimentary set of goals and ideologies. The empirical study, which was completed in 2018, is currently being prepared for publication.
Researcher: Dr Robert Bradshaw