Understanding Relational Locations and Complex Urban Systems: Mapping The Relations Between Computation, Space and Infrastructure

Lopes, Carina Sofia Lourinho Heleno. 2016. Understanding Relational Locations and Complex Urban Systems: Mapping The Relations Between Computation, Space and Infrastructure. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis examines how computation has become part of different aspects of urban territories. In particular, this research focuses on the increased softwarisation and datafication of these territories and consequently, on the conditions that have favoured the emergence of new modes of urban spatialities. It proposes that relational locations have emerged as prevailing urban spatialities, brought about by the relations between space, infrastructure and computation.

Beginning with an analysis of the relations between these three areas, it is shown that the crucial impact of computation, through the processes of softwarisation and datafication, mostly takes place within complex urban systems and their tendency towards convergence and concretisation, now accelerated and intensified. Furthermore, it is proposed that this tendency is increasingly sustained by the development of relations of mutual dependency and continuous feedback with practices of standardisation and risk management, which have become specifically location-oriented. From this standpoint, two case studies emphasise the localised implications of the transversal logic of computation. The first case study starts with the analysis of the convergence between the traffic management infrastructure and the air quality monitoring network. It draws attention to the dynamics established, extension of scope and use of indeterminacy as a management tool. The second case study focuses on the intensive gridding that new approaches to the logistics’ last-mile are creating. The delivery of ‘parcels’ continuously divides space and monitors increasingly more elements, turning vehicles into dots.

The main argument of this thesis is that complex urban systems and the relations that support them are central to the understanding of computation throughout urban territories. This thesis aims to show that the impact of the computational logic goes beyond its area of immediate action, increasingly creating contexts of mutual dependency and co-evolvement and translating adjacent elements into computable formats.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00019713

Keywords:

Relational locations, Complex urban systems, Computation, Softwarisation, Datafication, Infrastructure, Simondon, Space, Convergence, Concretisation.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Centre for Cultural Studies (1998-2017)

Date:

31 December 2016

Item ID:

19713

Date Deposited:

25 Jan 2017 11:03

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:23

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/19713

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