‘Anyway, the dashboard is dead’: on trying to build urban informatics

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How do the idealised promises and purposes of urban informatics compare to the material politics and practices of their implementation? To answer this question, I ethnographically trace the development of two data dashboards by strategic planners in an Australian city over the course of 2 years. By studying this techno-political process from its origins onward, I uncovered an interesting story of obdurate institutions, bureaucratic momentum, unexpected troubles, and, ultimately, frustration and failure. These kinds of stories, which often go untold in the annals of innovation, contrast starkly with more common framings of technological triumph and transformation. They also, I argue, reveal much more about how techno-political systems are actualised in the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313–328
Number of pages16
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2021


  • Australia
  • data governance
  • smart city
  • technological failure
  • urban dashboard

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