How and why do small cities become the test-beds of state imaginations of India's urban futures?
At a national scale, we will explore how and why state visions of 'futuring', through Digital India and 100 Smart Cities programmes, make specific 'assets' in small cities worthy of incubating these imaginaries. Specifically, we will investigate the genealogies of 'futuring' in India's urbanization and its links to current visions of smart cities.
How do small cities translate state imagined urban futures into 'actually existing' smart cities?
Building on RQ1, we will explore how small cities imagine their own urban futures, through particular smart city projects. Specifically, we will examine how small cities learn to innovate by championing their 'assets' in a competitive international context while negotiating for more autonomous roles in governing their futures.
How do citizens of small cities 'live with change' induced by smart city developments?
Following on from RQ1 and 2 above, we will investigate how smart city projects are perceived by those citizens who are targets of these projects at the neighbourhood level; how they are experienced, negotiated, challenged and supported. This takes 'futuring' as a lived experience of change where everyday knowledge of community assets, resources and infrastructures will be used to inform smart city policies at larger scales.
How can we 'learn' from small cities to inform practices of 'thinking' and 'doing' urban policy?
This brings together the above RQs to take learning as a reflective practice in urban theory and policy. Specifically, we will focus on how learning occurs at three interlinked scales of state, city and citizen and how this transform the ways that we might imagine global urban futures.