After much work, many discussions, a lot of writing and rewriting, and many many presentations around the world, Joe Shaw and I have our ‘Informational Right to the City’ article in print. 

An Informational Right to the City? Code, Content, Control, and the Urbanization of Information

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.

Download it, and our related pieces at the links below:

Shaw, J. and Graham, M. 2017. An Informational Right to the City? Code, Content, Control, and the Urbanization of InformationAntipode.  10.1111/anti.12312

Graham, M. and Shaw, J. 2017. An ‘Informational Right to the City’?New Internationalist. Feb 8, 2017

Shaw, J and Graham, M. (eds). 2017. Our Digital Rights to the City. London: Meatspace Press.