Hira Sheikh

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Areas of interest: More-than-Human and Multispecies Studies Smart Urban Governance Foresight Studies

Research Masters in Media, Art, and Performance Studies
Bachelors in Architecture and Design

Hira is a PhD Candidate with the Urban Informatics Research Group at the QUT Design Lab and QUT Digital Media Research Centre. She is an architect and an urban design theorist by background. Her research focuses on more-than-human smart urban governance. Before commencing her PhD, she worked as an urban planning consultant at The United Nations Development Programme and as a Research Assistant with [urban interfaces] at Utrecht University. 

Thesis title: Smart Urban Governance for More-than-Human Future(s) 

Given the accelerating effects of environmental change, biodiversity loss, and rapid urbanisation, the concept of more-than-human cities has recently garnered much interest. However, urban governance practices in smart cities are still primarily driven by neoliberal and technocratic economic growth agendas. More-than-Human Future(s) of Smart Urban Governance is a critical response to technocratic, human-centred, and capitalist modes of smart urban governance in Brisbane, Australia. The study critically reviews the selective blindness and ethical repercussions of a technocratic approach to smart urban governance, which largely reinforces human exceptionalism whilst omitting our entanglements with nature. Drawing on a diversity of more-than-human perspectives across triad of data-driven technologies, cities, and politics, this study reveals the untapped potential of more-than-human approaches in smart urban governance. The Ph.D. is situated at Urban Informatics Research Group at the QUT Design Lab and QUT Digital Media Research Centre. It is aligned with two of the QUT Design Lab’s programs: ‘Designing Creative and Resilient Communities’ and ‘Designing Future Technologies.’ It is further affiliated with DMRC’s GeoPrivacy ARC Discovery project and the DataCare project. It is also affiliated with the More-than-Human Futures Research Group in the Creative Industries Faculty.

Principal supervisor: Prof Marcus Foth
Associate Supervisor: A/Prof Peta Mitchell

Estimated completion date: February, 2023