New Orbital Urbanization

Charity Edwards, Brendan Gleeson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEncyclopaedia / Dictionary EntryResearchpeer-review


A new site of urbanization – low Earth orbit – increasingly structures our lives through the extension of urban informatics and sensing infrastructure circling the world. Such processes are conspicuously absent from many urban and regional debates however, which remain focused on human settlement patterns across the land surface of the Earth. Consideration of an expanding array of devices, equipment, and monitoring systems should extend beyond simply seeing their role in planetary-scale militarization, surveillance overreach, and/or global computational capacity. The technological capture of wider landscapes prefigures their eventual urban transformation, which must be a cause for democratic oversight. The proliferation of visible craft and signal pollution increases space debris risks, impacts scientific observations, causes real harm to the cosmos, and ultimately constrains what futures are possible for urban and regional communities around the Earth.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures
EditorsRobert Brears
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9783030518127
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameSpringer Reference Earth & Environm. Science Reference Module Physical and Materials Science


  • Urban
  • orbit
  • extended urbanisation
  • Indigenous cosmologies
  • low earth orbit
  • megaconstellations
  • planetary urbanisation
  • urban theory
  • satellite
  • satellite infrastructure
  • earth observation

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