Episode Archive

SCP E230 Data Care and More than Human, with Marcus Foth

Hi #smartcommunity friends. In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I have an interesting conversation with Marcus Foth, a professor at QUT in Brisbane, in the Creative Industries faculty design lab. You might remember, Marcus was one of our first guests on the podcast back in Episode 4 in 2018. In this episode we touch on Marcus’s background and his current work across interaction design. As well as how his passion for creating a better world involves tackling things such as sustainability, resilience, climate change, circular economy and data. We talk about the importance of good governance models to create smart cities, and discuss the difference between security and privacy. Marcus then shares with us the Data Care initiative and the sustainability projects he is currently working on. We finish our conversation talking about the emerging trends of the ‘more than human theme’ and data sovereignty before Marcus shares how government and industry are beginning to recognise the importance of a holistic sustainability approach. As always we hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it. 

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Marcus’s background and current work across interaction design and cities at QUT
  • His passion for making the world better, especially in the areas of sustainability and data
  • How his research into the combination of the physical and the digital sparked Marcus’s interest in the Smart Community space 
  • What a Smart Community is to Marcus 
  • How good governance models can create Smart Communities 
  • The difference between security and privacy
  • The Data Care initiative Marcus has been working on and its value driven approach towards city analytics 
  • Using speculative design methods so governments can anticipate policy design responses to new technologies
  • Marcus’s sustainability projects and looking deeper into a more holistic perspective and relational model
  • What we can learn from Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders about Smart Communities
  • The emerging trends of the ‘more than human theory’ and data sovereignty 
  • How government and industry is beginning to recognise the importance of a holistic sustainability approach for Smart Communities


“I think smart communities are really those that find really innovative progressive ways to challenge the status quo in governance models.”

“So a project initiative that we’ve been pulling together, it’s called Data care. And the term in a way describes a much more value driven approach towards city analytics. One of those values is access in the sense of inclusivity and participation.” 

“What I think I’m most excited about is that opportunity one, to shift from that data push to the data pull approach, where people can start actually engaging with data on their own terms, and using their own kind of domain context. That will then expose them to some of the benefits as well as some of the pitfalls and challenges.”

“Whereas if we consider how Aboriginal Torres Strait Islanders of Australia, would have lived here in Australia on their traditional lands, then you would come across things that we hear about in acknowledgement of country, which is care for country and stewardship, and being very much connected to place. And I think those notions are really, really useful in order for us to approach a much more genuine commitment to sustainability, not just this kind of Western greenwashing notion, but actually switching from a linear thinking model to what I’d call a relational thinking model.” 

“I believe that, the ability for, you know, the indigenous peoples of Australia having lived and continuously occupied and survived and cared for this country for 65,000 years. Well, there’s your smart community, right?”

“I feel there’s an urgency, because you know, the time is ticking that we really need to accelerate our progress towards something that isn’t just about little efficiency gains here and there, but something that is more of a game changer in the way that we approach cities.”


Episode 4 with Marcus Foth 

Episode 212 with Rohan Light 

Episode 211 with Emma Lee

Date Care https://datacare.urbaninformatics.net/ 

QUT ePrints Repository https://eprints.qut.edu.au 

Prof. Janis Birkeland on net positive design


Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community

Connect with Marcus via LinkedIn or on Twitter @Sunday9pm 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community 

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.


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