Wanda Liebermann presents paper at the London Geographical Society
Wanda Liebermann presented a paper at the 2017 Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference, in London, last August. Her paper “Someone to watch over me: Smart homes, disability, and aging in place” explored the discourses of wellness, smart cities, and social sustainability that intersect in so-called “sentient” home test environments developed by four U.S. university research projects: the Aware Home Research Initiative (AHRI) at Georgia Technical University, the Gator Tech Smart House at the University of Florida, Gainesville, the Place Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Center for Advanced Studies in Adaptive Systems (CASAS), at Washington State University. These collaborations between computer and social scientists create networks of monitoring, persuading, and other assistive technologies to enable older and disabled people to live independently at home. Her paper argued that the way that users’ sentience and agency are spatialized in the imagination of the researchers constitutes the task of caregiving as a solely technological problem, thereby ignoring the complex web of new social and technical relations that these smart homes produce. Her article is included in a proposal for a special issue submitted to the European Journal of Aging.