Min(d)ing our Data: Google, the University, and the City

March 28, 2019 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
A Different Booklist
779 Bathurst Street

Min(d)ing our Data: Google, the University, and the City

March 28, 2019, 7pm, at A Different Booklist 779 Bathurst Street, Toronto. Wheelchair accessible, gender neutral washroom on site.

Is Google taking over Toronto's waterfront? Who is in charge of the experiment in city building taking place at Quayside, and what could this mean for the future of urban space? Why has the 'Sidewalk Labs' project provoked so many concerns about data protection and urban privatization from so many quarters? And how do these kinds of smart cities initiatives intersect with questions of surveillance, race and privacy? Join us for a discussion exploring a range of urgent issues related to the current state of the 'Sidewalk Labs' development, the implications for Toronto's waterfront and the future of city building, and how institutions of higher learning - including our own - are implicated in these conversations. 


Nehal El-Hadi is a writer and researcher whose work explores the relationships between the body (racialised, gendered), place (urban, virtual), and technology (internet, health). As a scholar, her hybrid digital/material research methods are informed by her training and experience as a science and environmental journalist. She advocates for the responsible, accountable, and ethical treatment of user-generated content in the fields of journalism, planning, and healthcare. Her writing has appeared in academic journals, general scholarship publications, literary magazines, and is forthcoming in several anthologies and edited collections. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at the City Institute at York University and sessional faculty at the Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough.

Alexandra Flynn - Alexandra Flynn is assistant professor at UBC’s Allard School of Law. Her teaching and research focus on municipal law and governance, administrative law, property law, and experiential education. Her previous project, “The Landscape of Local in Toronto’s Governance Model,” looked at the overlapping geographies and governance of city space, including the formal and informal bodies that represent residents. Professor Flynn recently began a SSHRC-funded project which seeks to understand the legal relationships between First Nations and municipal governments. In addition to these projects, Professor Flynn is contributing to a deeper understanding of the governance of “smart cities” in the City of Toronto, including the role and duties of Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs. Professor Flynn received her JD and PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School and her LLM from University of California, Berkeley. She practiced banking and securities law at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York. She also practiced Aboriginal Law at Ratcliff & Company in Vancouver, representing First Nations on land-use and contractual matters. Prior to entering academia, she worked in a senior policy role at the City of Toronto, where, amongst other files, she managed the city’s review of the City of Toronto Act.

Mariana Valverde - Mariana Valverde is a professor at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto.She served as Director of the Centre from 2007 to 2013 and was one of the founders of the Sexual Diversity Studies program.She holds a courtesy cross-appointment to the Department of Geography and Planning as well as the Faculty of Law. In recent years she has mainly worked on questions of urban governance. A book pitched to a partly academic-partly popular audience that was very well received was her 2012 "Everyday law on the street: city governance in an age of diversity". Lately she been researching public-private infrastructure partnerships. MV has been studying urban governance and public-private infrastructure partnerships for about 15 years. Most recently, together with Alexandra Flynn she has been investigating Waterfront Toronto’s relationship with the Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs.


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