Smart Urban Governance for

More-than-Human Future(s)

at QUT The Block

When we think about biodiversity within and near cities, we think through encounters and stories, but also with data. With increasing fires, floods, and species extinction crises: smart technologies (rooted in systems of capitalism, colonialism, and speciesism) progressively regard nonhuman lifeforms as calculable, perceivable, and governable risks. Smart Urban Governance for More-than-Human Future(s) presents speculative artworks that question: What kinds of urban spaces might nonhuman species find helpful? How can technologies facilitate better services for nonhuman species? How can all species have better political participation in urban governance? Through six artworks, artists Bella Deary, Merinda Davies, and Lowana-Skye Davies represent futures collectively imagined by policymakers, environmental lawyers, scientists, urban planners, and climate activists to unsettle the power difference between humans and nonhumans. Artworks invite you to consider how we may be able to think together with ibises, soil, fungi, and koalas, among other species, to govern our cities. They reveal cutting-edge research and stimulate dialogue about interspecies politics that challenge the ongoing extractivism leading to environmental crises.

Join organisers Hira Sheikh, Marcus Foth, and Peta Mitchell from the Queensland University of Technology for a collaborative workshop to further explore the themes addressed in Smart Urban Governance for More-than-Human Future(s). In this speculative workshop, you’ll experience the exhibition artworks and discuss alternative futures of governance: relational, place-based, responsible, collaborative, and oriented toward multispecies justice. You will consider how we can move past the political and economic drivers within the urban landscape that conceive sustainable futures in human-only terms. You will explore alternative visions for a governance system that can interpret cities through values and experiences of animals, plants, microbes, and other beings besides humans. These ideas and possibilities will be mapped, and we will think together how these alternatives can be enacted in the present.