Session 2: Toward Smart Sustainable Cities in the Pacific Rim: Opportunities and limitations

New emerging smart technologies are transforming our cities, urban landscape, and everyday lives. The new technologies disrupt existing socio-economic and political dimensions of institutions, discourses, and mechanisms. The technologies appear promising by providing new opportunities for our cities to tackle complex and wicked problems such as traffic congestion, air/water/land pollution, and social inequality. Although addressing these urban problems aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),  the outcomes of smart technologies to attain the SDGs are not well investigated, particularly in the Pacific Rim. This webinar attempts to shed light on the opportunities and limitations of the smart emerging technologies from different perspectives to achieve smart sustainable cities in the rim.


Date & Time
September 2 at 6-7:30 (PDT)
September 3 at 1-2:30 pm (NZST)/ 9-10:30 am (HK time)



  • Welcome and introduction
  • Presentations by 5 speakers
  • Q&A session
  • Closing


View a recording here.
Download a flyer here.


Learning Objectives

  • Providing an understanding of smart technologies and cities from the rim
  • Identifying the opportunities of smart technologies in facing urban issues to attain the SDGs
  • Recognizing the limitations of smart technologies to address urban issues
Manfredo Manfredini
Associate Professor, Future Cities Hub, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland, Auckland

Affirmatively reading deterritorialisation in urban space

In contemporary cities, accelerating socioeconomic dynamism and mediatisation foster progressive spatial metastability and intense urban restructuring that produce unprecedented disruptive sociospatial deterritorialisations. Led by market forces, such deterritorialisations break the relationality of urban commons by abstracting, policing and instrumentalising them to establish regimes of fabricated consensus that objectively alienate urban communities. In urbanism, persistent problems in understanding this process are caused by an inadequate reception of specific theoretical instruments and hinder the capacity to appropriately address its implications in the unprecedented social and environmental crises that have found their epicentres in cities. In this presentation I offer a theoretical analysis of key elements of the theory of deterritorialisation centred on the works of Lefebvre on spatial production, Deleuze and Guattari on machinic assembling through decoding, and Rancière on equality by disagreement. I submit that such an escalating disruptive process of deterritorialisation not only intensifies the alienating exploitation of dominant market forces, but also, and most importantly, exacerbates the intrinsic contradictions of the systems implemented by those forces and thus triggers powerful antagonist counterforces of commoning.

Ali Cheshmehzangi
Professor, Head of the Department of Architecture and Built Environment and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET), the University of Nottingham Ningbo

A Comprehensive Urban Resilience Framework: Learning from COVID-19 Pandemic

This talk highlights a set of lessons learnt from developing and utilising a comprehensive urban resilience framework during the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. It addresses city preparedness measures through resilience enhancement, and elaborates on city management perspectives through responsiveness. Some experiences are shared, and some viewpoints are discussed. The talk also summarises some of the earlier work by the speaker, which is from his earlier published book, titled “The City in Need”. This is the first published monograph related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ayyoob Sharifi
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences & Network for Education and Research on Peace and Sustainability (NERPS), Hiroshima University

Contributions of smart cities to pandemic resilience

The pandemic occurred at an important historical juncture when smart solutions and technologies have become ubiquitous in many cities. In this presentation, I will discuss that investment in smart city initiatives can contribute to pandemic resilience by enhancing the planning and preparation ability. In addition, the adoption of smart solutions and technologies can, among other things, enhance the capacity of cities to predict pandemic patterns, facilitate an integrated and timely response, minimize or postpone transmission of the virus, provide support to overstretched sectors, minimize supply chain disruption, ensure continuity of basic services, and offer solutions for optimizing city operations.

Dr Elham(Ellie) Bahmanteymouri
Theory and History Hub, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Evaluating the impacts of digital economy on land use planning

The research evaluates the impact of the digital economy on urban and land use planning in relationship with the economic crises. This evaluation encompasses a threefold objective: first, theorising a framework based on the neo-Marxian approach that explain how the emergence of new digital platform economies is related to the market economy crises. Second, classifying different planning and policy making institutional approaches and regulations in dealing with the disrupting digital platforms through an analysis of empirical cases of the short term accommodation platforms in different countries. Third, hypothesising a theoretical approach that describe the existence of the digital platforms economy in three stages: emergence, growth and diminishing return. The discussion will focus on the role and understanding of planners and policy makers, as well as academics of the operation of digital platform economy in relationship with the market economy crises.

Dr Mohsen Mohammadzadeh (Moderator & Speaker)
Future Cities Hub, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Does disruptive mobility drive urban sustainability?

This talk investigates the potential impact of disruptive mobility, including vehicle automation, vehicle electrification, and online sharing platforms, on urban sustainable development. It demonstrates that disruptive mobility may have two possible but opposite impacts on urban development in the future. The talk argues that the implementation of urban regulations is crucial to direct the utilisation of disruptive mobility into sustainable development.