Guest editors: Kirsten Gram-Hanssen & Yolande Strengers
Abstract submissions closed on: 07 SEPTEMBER 2021
How are visions, relationships and practices with emerging technologies and energy interacting with gender relations and dynamics in homes?
From aspirations for leisure-enhancing electronic and digital gadgets through to self-cleaning buildings, imaginaries (visions) of technology in the home reflect long-held gendered associations (Berg 1994; Cowan 1989). This special issue investigates how emerging technologies are informed by gender and generate gendered effects in ways that support or undermine energy policies and initiatives. The issue will explore the relationship between gender, emerging technologies and energy from many perspectives, to help realise more gender-inclusive technologies, buildings, policies, programs and outcomes, and to ensure that gender insights can assist in making energy policy more effective by building on everyday life understandings.
The special issue aims to improve understanding regarding the gendered diversity and effects in the development of, and experiences with, emerging technologies of relevance to energy in homes. The issue will provide critical advice for key stakeholders such as policy makers, regulators, planners, technologists, designers and housing developers for future gender-inclusive energy technologies and approaches which work in everyday life.
For this special issue, issues of concern include household interactions and relationships with energy or smart technologies, as well as experiences with a broad range of emerging technologies — such as consumer electronics, robotics and automation — and how these shape and are shaped by gender in ways that affect energy outcomes. We are interested in contributions that address gendered visions, experiences and outcomes with a wide variety of emerging technologies including:
The special issue also explores the impact of gender on realising policy, regulatory and building efficiency aspirations. Set against broader political agendas and imaginaries for Big Tech, decarbonisation and energy reform, emerging technologies are often considered key enablers of future visions for low-carbon futures. Yet questions about whose futures are being enabled and imagined, or who is doing the work to enable them, are left unanswered (Aagaard 2021; Jasanoff 2015; Sovacool 2019). Insufficient attention to gender and socio-cultural dynamics may undermine the green and just transition of the energy system.
The smart or digital home has long been a tantalising prospect, with enticing visions regularly on display in science fiction books, films and display homes (Dourish & Bell 2011). In recent and specific iterations of the energy (smart) home — featuring home automation and load control, electric vehicles, solar and battery integration, real-time feedback, demand response and/or improved efficiency — questions of gender are inescapable, as everyday practices and technologies are gendered and thus inform energy outcomes. There has been considerable attention paid to the social and household dynamics involved with smart technologies and the impacts this has on energy outcomes (Darby 2018; Gram-Hanssen & Darby 2018; Hansen et al. 2019; Hargreaves & Wilson 2017, 2018; Nicholls & Strengers 2019; Ransan-Cooper et al. 2020). However, less attention has been given to gender in such analyses, making it an important issue in need of concerted focus (Johnson 2020; Furszyfer et al. 2021; Mechlenborg & Gram-Hanssen 2020; Pink 2004; Strengers 2013; Tjørring et al. 2018). Questions remain about whose interests are represented in the visions for technologies; who does the work involved in setting up, maintaining, using or responding to technologies in the home (Kennedy et al. 2015; Rode & Poole 2018; Strengers & Nicholls 2018); how smart technologies are gendered by design or ergonomics (Perez 2019; Strengers & Kennedy 2020); how the non-human agency of emerging technologies interacts with gender in both the design and use phase (Gram-Hanssen, 2019; Morley 2019; Kuijer 2019); and what new ‘cyborgs’ are emerging that transcend traditional understandings of gender and feminism (Haraway 2013).
Emerging technologies in the home
Industry visions and policy progress
Neighbourhoods and communities
You are invited to submit an abstract for a journal paper in this special issue of Buildings & Cities. In the first instance, please send a 500 word (maximum) abstract defining the scope, methods and results to Richard Lorch firstname.lastname@example.org by TUESDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 2021. The initial abstract submission must include:
Abstracts will be reviewed by the editors to ensure a varied, yet integrated selection of papers around the topic of the special issue.
Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper which then undergoes a double-blind peer review process. The journal publishes the several different types of papers: research, synthesis, policy analysis, methods, & replication, see: https://bit.ly/3iQOaIF
SYMPOSIUM: Authors of accepted abstracts will receive feedback from the editors and be asked to prepare a short (5-10 minute) presentation of their paper at an online symposium (held over several weeks and across multiple time zones) for the special issue authors, to be held in November 2021. Papers will be thematically grouped and each lead author will be asked to comment on another paper’s abstract and presentation. Authors will be invited to attend all sessions of the symposium but are only required to attend those featuring their paper and/or the paper they are asked to comment on. After the symposium which will allow for further feedback and discussion around the special issue, full papers will be submitted by 11 March 2022.
Deadline for abstract submission 7 September 2021
Symposium to discuss and develop paper ideas 3, 4, 8, 9 November 2021
March 2022 (NB: authors can submit sooner if they wish)
Referees’ comments 15 May 2022
Final version due 30 June 2022
Publication August 2022 (NB: papers are published as soon as they are accepted)
Buildings & Cities is an international, open access, not-for-profit, double-blind peer-reviewed research journal. Its focus is the interactions between buildings, neighbourhoods and cities by understanding their supporting social, economic and environmental systems. More information including its Aims & Scope, Key Principles and Editorial Board can be found online: www.buildingsandcities.org.
Buildings & Cities is an open access journal and has an article processing charge of £1200 (plus VAT if applicable). If you do not have institutional support, please contact the editor to discuss. We endeavour to assist those without funding to publish in our journal.
R. Lorch (Buildings & Cities), Guest editors: K. Gram-Hanssen (Aalborg U) & Y. Strengers (Monash U). Assistants: L. K. Aagaard (Aalborg U), K. Dahlgren (Monash U)
If you have a question, please contact:
Richard Lorch email@example.com or Kirsten Gram-Hanssen firstname.lastname@example.org
Aagaard, L. K. (2021). The meaning of convenience in smart home imaginaries: tech industry insights. Buildings and Cities. https://doi.org/10.5334/bc.93
Berg, A. J. (1994). A gendered socio-technical construction: the smart house. In C. Cockburn & R. Furst Dilic (Eds.), Bringing technology home: gender and technology in changing Europe (pp. 165-180). Open University Press.
Cowan, R. S. (1989). More Work for Mother: the Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave. London: Free Association Books.
Darby, S. J. (2018). Smart technology in the home: time for more clarity. Building Research & Information, 46(1), 140-147. https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2017.1301707
Dourish, P., & Bell, G. (2011). Divining a Digital Future. MIT Press.
Furszyfer Del Rio, D. D., Sovacool, B. K., & Martiskainen, M. (2021). Controllable, frightening, or fun? Exploring the gendered dynamics of smart home technology preferences in the United Kingdom. Energy Research & Social Science, 77, 102105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2021.102105
Gram-Hanssen, K., & Darby, S. J. (2018). “Home is where the smart is”? Evaluating smart home research and approaches against the concept of home. Energy Research & Social Science, 37 (Supplement C), 94-101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.09.037
Hansen, A. R., Madsen, L. V., Knudsen, H. N., & Gram-Hanssen, K. (2019). Gender, age, and educational differences in the importance of homely comfort in Denmark. Energy Research & Social Science, 54, 157-165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2019.04.004
Haraway, D. (2013). Simians, cyborgs, and women: The reinvention of nature. Routledge.
Hargreaves, T., & Wilson, C. (2017). Smart Homes and Their Users. Springer.
Hargreaves, T., Wilson, C., & Hauxwell-Baldwin, R. (2018). Learning to live in a smart home. Building Research & Information, 46(1), 127-139. Https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2017.1286882
Jasanoff, S. (2015). Future Imperfect: Science, Technology, and the Imaginations of Modernity. In S. Jasanoff & S.-H. Kim (Eds.), Dreamscapes of modernity: Sociotechnical imaginaries and the fabrication of power (pp. 1-33). University of Chicago Press.
Johnson, C. (2020). Is demand side response a woman's work? Domestic labour and electricity shifting in low income homes in the United Kingdom. Energy Research & Social Science, 68, 101558. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101558
Kennedy, J., Nansen, B., Arnold, M., Wilken, R., & Gibbs, M. (2015). Digital housekeepers and domestic expertise in the networked home. Convergence, 21(4), 408-422.
Nicholls, L., & Strengers, Y. (2019). Robotic vacuum cleaners save energy? Raising cleanliness conventions and energy demand in Australian households with smart home technologies. Energy Research & Social Science, 50, 73-81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2018.11.019
Mechlenborg, M., & Gram-Hanssen, K. (2020). Gendered homes in theories of practice: A framework for research in residential energy consumption. Energy Research and Social Science, 67 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101538
Perez, C. C. (2019). Invisible women: Exposing data bias in a world designed for men. Random House.
Pink, S. (2004). Home Truths: Gender, domestic objects and everyday life. Oxford: Berg.
Ransan-Cooper, H., Lovell, H., Watson, P., Harwood, A., & Hann, V. (2020). Frustration, confusion and excitement: Mixed emotional responses to new household solar-battery systems in Australia. Energy Research & Social Science, 70, 101656. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101656
Rode, J. A., & Poole, E. S. (2018). Putting the gender back in digital housekeeping. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Gender & IT, Heilbronn, Germany. https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/10.1145/3196839.3196845
Sovacool, B. K. (2019). Visions of Energy Futures: Imagining and Innovating Low-Carbon Transitions. Routledge.
Strengers, Y. (2013). Smart Energy Technologies in Everyday Life: Smart Utopia? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Strengers, Y., & Kennedy, J. (2020). The Smart Wife: Why Siri, Alexa and other Smart Home Devices Need a Feminist Reboot. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Strengers, Y., & Nicholls, L. (2018). Aesthetic pleasures and gendered tech-work in the 21st-century smart home. Media Internat’l Australia, 166(1), 70-80.
Tjørring, L., Jensen, C., Hansen, L., & Andersen, L. (2018). Increasing the Flexibility of Electricity Consumption in Private Households: Does Gender Matter? Energy Policy, 118, 9-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2018.03.006
Tolmie, P., Crabtree, A., Rodden, T., Greenhalgh, C., & Benford, S. (2007). Making the Home Network at Home: Digital Housekeeping. Paper presented at the ECSCW’07, Limerick, Ireland.
Climate action at the neighbourhood scale: Comparing municipal future scenarios
Y Lu, C Girling, N Martino, J Kim, R Kellett & J Salter
Transformational climate actions by cities [editorial]
K R Slater & J B Robinson
Heat stress: adaptation measures in South African informal settlements
J M Hugo
The urban expansion of Berlin, 1862–1900: Hobrecht’s Plan
Common sources of occupant dissatisfaction with workspace environments in 600 office buildings
T Parkinson, S Schiavon, J Kim & G Betti
Collapse and Catastrophe: The Need to Protect Inhabitants
In light of the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, David Oswald and Trivess Moore (RMIT University) reflect on the rights that inhabitants have for buildings to be safe, healthy, comfortable and robust. However, serial and various failings in the construction supply side and its oversight by governments mean greater accountability is needed.
Blind Spots in Energy Policy
As a policy practitioner who leads a national organisation representing households and small businesses in shaping the future of Australia’s energy system, Lynne Gallagher (Energy Consumers Australia) responds to the Buildings & Cities special issue, Energy, Emerging Technologies and Gender in Homes. Insights from lived experience reveal blind spots in the design, provision and use of smart tech that adversely affect energy outcomes.