Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online prior to print.
Assemblages of altruism in urban service delivery: Seamful designs and cities, by Teresa Swist & Liam Magee
Lack of access to services is one of the chief difficulties faced by marginalized urban communities. The proximity of digital technologies and data promises to remove a key constraint to greater access: the unequal distribution of information. However, issues of digital literacy and affordability and the local specificity of services make opportunities for achieving well-being both a technical and ethical concern. We discuss 2 community-based projects—one in Western Sydney, Australia, and the other in Dhaka, Bangladesh—that sought to unpack this interface through prototyping a combination of offline and online service directories. Through these, we explore what we have termed altruistic assemblages—circulations of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), researchers, local communities, service providers, hackathons, co-design events, and technology devices. The contributed time, resources, hopes and care of these assemblages do not presuppose a finite solution to urban service delivery but rather offer a prefigurative politics for the more equitable cities to come.