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Supervisor: Prof. Emily So

Aisha Screen Shot 2019 02 12 at 13.28.16


Research overview:

Smart Urbanism, symptomatic of the drive for efficiency and profit, promises not only a digitally enhanced environment but also increased quality of life. However, this claim has minimal verification and raises questions over the conceptualisation of quality of life. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and global lockdown fast-tracked urban dependence on digital infrastructure and uptake of technology, bringing into reality one possible form of digital urban future under the ‘Smart’ banner. Despite focus on wellbeing during the pandemic, there has been little to no enquiry on the systematic considerations for wellbeing resulting from this environment. Therefore, this thesis aims to fill this gap and offer ways that the smart environment can best serve inhabitants. 

To do this, Foucault is drawn upon to trace lived experience around to understand the regimes of control in action, investigating the 5 ways to wellbeing found by the NEF. Analysis will be undertaken of government documents, key informant interviews and online survey data to provide a holistic understanding of the issues. By taking a mixed qualitative and quantitative approach, this thesis hopes to demonstrate the part technology has to play in the wellbeing of inhabitants of future cities, despite the myriad of factors which influence wellbeing. 



Aisha is a third year PhD student with a broad interest in power systems. She has a varied background, prior to her PhD she completed an MPhil in cyber power at the University of Cambridge, following a BA(Hons) from Queens University Belfast. She was chosen as a Digital X scholar by the Norman Foster Foundation, and holds the Fitzwilliam College LKY scholarship. Outside the university setting, Aisha has worked at a range of non-profit organisations for people with additional needs.