Situated technologies : a radical planning tool for popular economies
Radical planning tool for popular economies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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A massive expansion of social exclusion in cities, induced by neoliberal models, crystallized in Latin America through the privatization of the public sector, reduction of the welfare-state, financial speculation and abusive extraction of natural resources. The aspiration of solidarity economies emerged in part as a counterproposal, challenging the institutions, norms, values, and practices that organize the current economic process of urban production and consumption. The main objective of a solidarity economy is to generate the material foundation to fulfill community-level needs by creating a discreet, territorialized economy which recognizes and prioritizes the social- and use-value of local transactions.In this thesis, I explore how a situated knowledge of marginalized communities' problems, and assets as they understand them, might be leveraged and strengthened by technologies which enable them to gain a consciousness of themselves and their economic strength within the urban socioeconomic system. In 2017, I founded and built a team that works with micro-business owners in Villas de San Pablo (VSP), Barranquilla, Colombia, to develop a platform called QUIPU. QUIPU is a reference to the Incan knotted strings record-keeping devices of census data, transactions, and narratives such as royal histories, myths, and songs. Adopting a Participatory Action Research method, I use the design of the QUIPU digital technology platform to strengthen community economic ties and local wealth, and inspire radical planning for social-economic transformation.The result of the design process detailed in this thesis is a digital market-place that supports the development of thriving place-based economies in low-income communities. QUIPU maps and connects local "prosumers" (or local producers that are also local consumers) and creates a trading system that promotes shared wealth creation and wealth retention in place. Just as other marginalized communities have used self-enumeration and mapping exercises to spur community cohesion and advocacy, this thesis argues that co-designing technological platforms in the service of local solidarity economies can help build a pathway for change and equitable urban development. In short, QUIPU aims to translate situated knowledges into situated technologies that work by and for marginalized communities.
This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2019Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 95-100).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.