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Thesis Defence: Imaginary Futures: An analysis of the future smart city through THE LINE

April 9 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Donya Hatami, supervised by Dr. Mike Zajko, will defend their thesis titled “Imaginary Futures: An analysis of the future smart city through THE LINE” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies – Power, Conflict, and Ideas theme.

An abstract for Donya Hatami’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in person defences.


This research explores the phenomenon of the smart city, exploring it through its’ relationship and intersections with surveillance, utopianism, and nature. The thesis uses as case study and central focus of analysis the Saudi megaproject THE LINE and contextualizes it within the larger trend of urban megaprojects across the Gulf region. Employing a critical perspective and content analysis, this study examines the role of imaginaries in shaping these projects and identifies its’ influences and sources in the collective imagination. I argue that smart city urban development is driven by collective social imaginings and culturally resonant images of the future, which have created shared imaginaries of the future and fundamentally structure how we think about surveillance, about urban space and the ideals of utopia, and the conceptual construction of nature. Through cultural artifacts and speculative fiction, shared imaginaries emerge, guiding future urban development and crucially, reinforcing existing structures of power.

THE LINE is the apotheosis of this phenomenon and embodies a neoliberal utopian ideology that perpetuates current power structures and the current economic order under the guise of futuristic urban design. The project’s rhetoric about nature and technology serve to obscure the ecological costs and avoid discussions of class and politics. Ultimately, this study underscores the need to challenge elite-driven visions of the future, advocating for alternative imaginaries that prioritize sustainability and social equity over techno-utopianism.


April 9
10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Arts Building (ART)
1147 Research Road
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Arts and Humanities, Global, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates