Do Smart Cities Hold Water? Laotian aspirations for smart water infrastructure
Al's pre-dissertation research explores the nexus between smart cities and water infrastructure with a focus on land contestation in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, Laos. Al adopts a political ecology approach to better understand the processes of financing, planning, constructing, and maintaining these smart city projects. These two cities have been put forward in the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, established in 2018. What connects these projects is their prioritizing of water infrastructure, especially important given the country's continued focus on hydropower dam construction adjacent to these cities. Al hopes to conduct ethnographic interviews and participant observation in these two cities.