Dossier: Caring Cities

Dossier editors: Linda Kopitz and Pei-Sze Chow

Linda Kopitz and Pei-Sze Chow, Caring Cities: An Introduction

In their introduction to the dossier, Linda Kopitz and Pei-Sze Chow consider how care intersects with the urban, and how care might be “designed,” through the lenses of technology, politics, and the senses.

Mediating Care through Technology

Pei-Sze Chow, Care-by-Algorithm in Tiong Bahru Social Club (2020): Imagining the Technification of Happiness in Singapore

Pei-Sze Chow reads the science-fiction film Tiong Bahru Social Club in the context of Singapore’s Smart Nation policies, arguing that its satirical vision of care-by-algorithm offers insights into how individuals might reclaim agency and “hack” the algocratic state.

Samuel Holleran, Forever Infrastructures: Memorialization and Care in Australia’s Urban Cemeteries

Samuel Holleran discusses urban cemeteries as a kind of “deathcare infrastructure” and considers the questions of capacity, maintenance, and care that surround their presence in Australian cities.

Linda Kopitz, Sensing Nature: Green Databases and Maintenance as/of Care

Linda Kopitz traces how the vision for Amsterdam’s sustainable future has been digitally mapped by “green” databases in ways that construct ideas of maintenance as care, and care as maintenance. Yet such mediations of urban nature risk fragmenting sustainable practices in the present.

Sensing Care in the City

Lucy Cathcart Frödén, Sounding Care in Malmö’s Cultural-Industrial Sound Zone

How can care become material through sound in the urban environment? Lucy Cathcart Frödén analyses Malmö’s “cultural-industrial sound zone” and challenges us to tune in to care in the city.

Pedram Dibazar, Walking With and Caring For: Attending to the Self and the Other in the Pedestrian City

Walkable cities are caring cities, argues Pedram Dibazar. Viewing the pedestrian city through the lens of care, Dibazar discusses the importance of walking together as a means to sense the city anew.

Faye Mercier, Finding Care in Korea: Korean Media Consumption as Urban Self-Care

Faye Mercier explores how first-time visitors to Seoul use South Korean film and television as sources of “self-care,” and highlights the tensions between the material experience of the city and its mediated imaginaries.

Embodying Care and Neoliberal Urbanity

Victor Zhuang, Jocelyn Tay, Gerard Goggin, Lee Chei Sian, and Wong Meng Ee, Doing Good for Disability in Asian Smart Cities?

Victor Zhuang et al. interrogate the discourse of “doing good” for disabled people through smart city initiatives and digital technology, asking how we might move from “doing good” to “doing good better.”

Laura Vermeeren, A Caring Beijing through Public Fitness Equipment

Laura Vermeeren examines the proliferation of state-sponsored outdoor fitness areas in Beijing. Often used by retirees, these “senior playgrounds” embody both Chinese philosophies of wellbeing and neoliberal practices of self-care.

Vincent Baptist, Healthy Cities and Bodies: Reflections on New Paradigms of Urban Well-Being

Drawing on examples from Amsterdam and Venice, Vincent Baptist analyses two emerging urban paradigms — the “smooth city” and the “wellness city” — as models for understanding the reciprocal relations of care between cities and their inhabitants.