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More-than-human computer interaction for urban food governance

Heitlinger, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-6148-350X, Houston, L., Choi, J. H-j. , Taylor, A. & Catlow, R. (2022). More-than-human computer interaction for urban food governance. In: Moragues-Faus, A., Clark, J. K., Battersby, J. & Davies, A. (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Urban Food Governance. . Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781003055907


Digital technologies such as sensors, blockchain and artificial intelligence are increasingly being used in global food production and consumption, including in urban contexts through the notion of the “smart city”. Food governance is addressed through logics of efficiency in supply chains, increasing profits for shareholders of large companies, but doing little to address unsustainable social and environmental inequalities. Human computer interaction (HCI) designers and researchers are increasingly interested in algorithmic governance of smart cities, raising concerns around issues of control, agency, access, and benefit. Against these concerns, some HCI researchers have also started to question a human-centred perspective to designing socio-technical systems, drawing on more-than-human perspectives to consider the interrelations and interdependencies between human and non-human others within the food web. In this chapter, we draw these emerging perspectives within HCI together to consider the ways in which new technologies such as blockchain can be used in urban food governance. We present a case study of co-designing futures of algorithmic food governance with grassroots urban communities that account for multispecies actors, labours, and relationships. The project surfaces new possibilities for computation to intervene in urban food governance in ways that are more sustainable and fair.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Routledge Handbook of Urban Food Governance on 20 October 2022, available online:
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
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