Carlos Estrada-Grajales is a digital ethnographer, critical urbanism researcher and PhD candidate with the Urban Informatics Research Lab. Through his work, he is also affiliated with the QUT Design Lab and the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC). His background is in Urban Anthropology, Cultural Studies, and Political Science and History. He received his Bachelor and Certificate from the University of Los Andes, and the Pontifical Xaverian University in Bogota, Colombia.
Research areas: Urban cultures,Digital ethnography, City-making and civic engagement, Activism and social movements, Critical urban theories, Social production of space
The Right to the Digital City: The Role of Urban Imaginaries in Participatory Citymaking
This doctoral study critically examines how urban residents engage and participate in different forms and levels of imaginative city-making. The research is encouraged by two initial reflections in the realm of urban governance. First, although technological improvements have facilitated access to information and opportunities for communication, urban residents are still experiencing a general discontent related to the different levels of agency in the process of shaping cities according to their own will. Secondly, urban residents are already contributing, either consciously or not, to produce their urban space when they experience, represent and imagine it.
Carlos explores how current forms of consultation and decision-making, often regulated by institutions (government and private), can be challenged and reshaped by urban residents engaged in conversations about alternative futures for the city. Specifically, Carlos analyses how urban residents co-create urban imaginaries as a strategy to identify the various narrative forms used to convey their desired future for Brisbane. His dissertation is composed of three interrelated case studies, each of which provides the opportunity of examining how urban residents produce different imaginaries in both digitally mediated and physical scenarios. In order to collect and analyse data, Carlos has deployed a combination of traditional and experimental ethnographic methods, including participant observations, geo-tracking exercises, and social media and artistic exhibitions content analysis.