Exploring the role of geo-technologies in urban governance and planning:

“Smart urbanism” and the politics of sustainability in Southern cities

10 May 2017

10:00 – IFAS Conference Room, 62 Juta Street, Braamfontein


Elisabeth Peyroux (CNRS, UMR Prodig Paris)
Jesse Harber (GCRO) & Darlington Mushongera (GCRO & Wits University)

Recently, much emphasis is placed on the potential of geo-technologies, e.g. through Smart City or “smart urbanism” applications, to improve governance and planning and contribute achieving more sustainable urban development. Yet empirical evidence is sparse and based largely on Northern cities. Furthermore, there remain several gaps and limitations in theorizing and conceptualising the diverse ways in which geo-technologies and data are used and shared and their societal implications in different geographical contexts. Drawing on a collaborative and comparative research project in Southern cities (South Africa, Brazil and India), this presentation critically engage with current literature on geo-technologies, smart urbanism and “transition to sustainability” around issues of politics and governance and explores some ways in which research can contribute to enhanced understanding of complex urban and governance processes and increased reflexivity with regard to current practices and strategies.


Elisabeth Peyroux is a Senior Researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), based at the UMR Prodig, Paris. As a human geographer she has worked on urban governance, urban restructuring and socio-spatial transformation in Southern Africa, more particularly Johannesburg. Her current research focuses on the international circulation of urban policy models, as well as on cities’ international relations strategies.