Henri Lefebvre talked of the “right to the city” alongside a right to information. As the urban environment becomes increasingly layered by abstract digital representation, Lefebvre's broader theory warrants application to the digital age. Through considering what is entailed by the urbanization of information, this paper examines the problems and implications of any “informational right to the city”. In directing Tony Benn's five questions of power towards Google, arguably the world's most powerful mediator of information, this paper exposes processes that occur when geographic information is mediated by powerful digital monopolies. We argue that Google currently occupies a dominant share of any informational right to the city. In the spirit of Benn's final question—“How do we get rid of you?”—the paper seeks to apply post-political theory in exploring a path to the possibility of more just information geographies.Résumé
Henri Lefebvre parle d'un “droit à la ville” comme allant de pair avec le droit à l'information. Alors que de plus en plus de représentations numériques abstraites se superposent à l'environnement urbain, la théorie générale de Lefebvre mérite d'être appliquée à l'ère du numérique. En se penchant sur les enjeux de l'urbanisation de l'information, cet article analyse les difficultés et les implications d'un “droit informationnel à la ville”. Après avoir posé à Google, le vecteur d'information le plus puissant du monde, les cinq questions que Tony Benn avait adressées aux détenteurs de pouvoir, le texte expose les processus dérivant de l'intermédiation de l'information géographique par de puissants monopoles numériques. Il montre que Google occupe actuellement une position dominante dans tout droit informationnel à la ville. Dans l'esprit de la question finale de Benn—“Comment peut-on se débarrasser de vous?”—cet article vise à appliquer la théorie post-politique afin d'explorer les voies vers des géographies informationnelles plus équitables.
Location-based social media make it possible to understand social and geographic aspects of human activities. However, previous studies have mostly examined these two aspects separately without looking at how they are linked. The study aims to connect two aspects by investigating whether there is any correlation between social connections and users' check-in locations from a socio-geographic perspective. We constructed three types of networks: a people–people network, a location–location network, and a city–city network from former location-based social media Brightkite and Gowalla in the U.S., based on users' check-in locations and their friendships. We adopted some complexity science methods such as power-law detection and head/tail breaks classification method for analysis and visualization. Head/tail breaks recursively partitions data into a few large things in the head and many small things in the tail. By analyzing check-in locations, we found that users' check-in patterns are heterogeneous at both the individual and collective levels. We also discovered that users' first or most frequent check-in locations can be the representatives of users' spatial information. The constructed networks based on these locations are very heterogeneous, as indicated by the high ht-index. Most importantly, the node degree of the networks correlates highly with the population at locations (mostly with R2 being 0.7) or cities (above 0.9). This correlation indicates that the geographic distributions of the social media users relate highly to their online social connections.
In settler colonial contexts the historical and ongoing dispossession and displacement of Indigenous peoples is foundational to understanding the production of urban space. What does it mean that cities in what is now known as Canada are Indigenous places and premised on the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples? What roles do new urban reserves play in subverting or reinforcing the colonial-capitalist sociospatial order? This paper examines these questions in relation to new urban reserves in Canada. Most common in the Prairie provinces, new urban reserves are satellite land holdings of First Nation communities located outside of the city. While the settler state narrowly confines new urban reserves to neoliberal agendas, First Nations are successfully advancing reserve creation to generate economic self-sufficiency, exercise self-determination, and subvert settler state boundaries. I argue that new urban reserves are contradictory spaces, as products and vehicles of settler-colonial state power and Indigenous resistance and place-making.