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.
Drawing on examples from Amsterdam to 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
In their introduction to the Caring Cities 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.