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Dr Miguel Valdez

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Professional biography

Miguel Valdez began his career as a software engineer, went on to become a technology journalist, and is currently working as a Lecturer in Technology and Innovation Management in the school of Engineering and Innovation at the Open University.

Research interests

Miguel's research investigates innovation in urban technologies with attention to the institutional capacities in planning, governance and sense-making required to support more sustainable, equitable and inclusive ways of living in cities. His doctoral research applied the Strategic Niche Management framework to study sustainable transport innovation in Milton Keynes, with a particular focus on the sensemaking activities that took place in organisations considering the adoption of electric vehicles under the Plugged-in Places programme. He further developed this understanding of cities as experimental spaces within the transport work package of MK:Smart, a £16 million smart city programme. His current research investigates the urban impact and implications of autonomous robots deployed in urban environments, as well as the urban implications of the data and networking infrastructures required to support data-hungry robots, connected and autonomous vehicles and smart city technologies.

Through his research, Miguel has developed an interest in the ways in which different actors make sense of innovative technologies and develop competing narratives about the future of their city. His research has drawn insights from urban geography and innovation studies to interrogate how the experimental spaces in cities may facilitate the development of new knowledges about sustainable innovation, and on how such knowledges coalesce and travel. This research has been based on disciplinary and interdisciplinary projects grounded in impactful deployments of urban technologies shaping urban policy and management at various scales and attending to alignments and tensions in the outcomes sought by citizens, lead users, industrial actors and policymakers in local and national government. 

Teaching interests

In 2020 Miguel became a Lecturer in Technology and Innovation Management in the School of Engineering and Innovation, taking the role of Presentation Chair of the module T849 'Strategic Capabilities for for Technological Innovation'. In addition to T849, Miguel currently chairs STiP module TB872 'Managing Change with Systems Thinking in Practice'

Miguel's teaching supports or has supported the following OU modules:

T849 'Strategic Capabilities for for Technological Innovation' (Presentation Chair)
TB872 'Managing Change with Systems Thinking in Practice' (Presentation Chair)
T847 'The MSc Professional Project' (Presentation Chair)
T803 'MSc project: researching in context' (Module Team, Production)
TB801 'Technology and innovation management' (Module Team, Production)


Why does urban Artificial Intelligence (AI) matter for urban studies? Developing research directions in urban AI research (2024)
Caprotti, Federico; Cugurullo, Federico; Cook, Matthew; Karvonen, Andrew; Marvin, Simon; McGuirk, Pauline and Valdez, Alan-Miguel
Urban Geography ((early access))

Humans, robots and artificial intelligences reconfiguring urban life in a crisis (2023)
Valdez Juarez, Alan and Cook, Matthew
Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, 5

Demand-responsive transport returns to Milton Keynes - lessons for a bus industry in crisis? (2022-09-01)
Potter, Stephen; Valdez, Miguel; Enoch, Marcus and Cook, Matthew
Town and Country Planning, 91(5) (pp. 319-329)

Exploring smart city atmospheres: The case of Milton Keynes (2021-12)
Cook, Matthew and Valdez, Alan-Miguel
Geoforum, 127 (pp. 180-188)

The imagined electric vehicle user: Insights from pioneering and prospective buyers in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom (2019-06-30)
Valdez, A.; Potter, S. and Cook, M.
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 71 (pp. 85-95)

Roadmaps to Utopia: Tales of the Smart City (2018-11-01)
Valdez Juarez, Alan; Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
Urban Studies, 55(15) (pp. 3385-3403)

Exploring participatory visions of smart transport in Milton Keynes (2018-06-30)
Valdez Juarez, Alan-Miguel; Cook, Matthew; Potter, Stephen and Langendahl, Per-Anders
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability, 171(4) (pp. 204-210)

Prototyping sustainable mobility practices: user-generated data in the smart city (2018)
Valdez Juarez, Alan-Miguel; Cook, Matthew; Langendahl, Per-Anders; Roby, Helen and Potter, Stephen
Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 30(2) (pp. 144-157)

Exploring temporal pleats and folds: the role of urban AI and robotics in reinvigorating the cyborg city (2024)
Valdez, Miguel; Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
In: Cugurullo, Federico; Caprotti, Federico; Cook, Matthew; Karvonen, Andrew; McGuirk, Pauline and Marvin, Simon eds. Artificial Intelligence and the City: Urbanistic Perspectives on AI (pp. 136-154)
ISBN : 9781003365877 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Toward an intelligent mobility regime (2023)
Potter, Stephen; Warren, James; Valdez, Miguel and Cook, Matthew
In: Droege, Peter ed. Intelligent Environments: advanced systems for a healthy planet, 2nd Edition (pp. 323-350)
ISBN : 978-0-12-820247-0 | Publisher : Elsevier | Published : Amsterdam

Learning lessons for avoiding the inadvertent exclusion of communities from smart city projects (2020-11)
Valdez Juarez, Miguel; Wigley, Edward; Zanetti, Olly and Rose, Gillian
In: Aurigi, Alessandro and Odendaal, Nancy eds. Shaping Smart for Better Cities - Rethinking and Shaping Relationships Between Urban Space and Digital Technologies (pp. 221-237)
ISBN : 978-0-12-818636-7 | Publisher : Academic Press | Published : London

Autonomous vehicles and the urban mobility ecosystem (2019-10-21)
Potter, Stephen; Valdez, Alan-Miguel and Cook, Matthew
In: Nuttall, William J; Gibson, David V; Trzmielak, Dariusz and Ibarra-Yunez, Alejandro eds. Energy and Mobility in Smart Cities (pp. 83-97)
ISBN : 9780727764256 | Publisher : ICE Publishing

Exploring the epistemic politics of urban niche experiments (2019)
Cook, Matthew; Horne, Ralph; Potter, Stephen and Valdez, Alan-Miguel
In: Jensen, Jens Stissing; Cashmore, Matthew and Späth, Philipp eds. The Politics of Urban Sustainability Transitions: Knowledge, Power and Governance. (pp. 125-147)
ISBN : 978-1-138-47965-4 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, Oxon

Engaging with the Smart City Through Urban Data Games (2017-01-01)
Wolff, Annika; Valdez Juarez, Alan; Barker, Matthew; Potter, Stephen; Gooch, Daniel; Giles, Emilie and Miles, John
In: Nijholt, Anton ed. Playable Cities: The City as a Digital Playground. Gaming Media and Social Effects (1) (pp. 47-66)
Publisher : Springer

Technocentric Neoliberalism and Okness - The Shaping of the City (2017)
Valdez Juarez, Alan-Miguel and Valdez, Ruben
In: Chiavi, Elena; Girao, Matilde; Garrido I Arnaiz, Pablo; Moura Veiga, Francisco; Ramos Ordonez, Francisco and Valdez, Ruben eds. On Relations in Architecture (pp. 167-169)
ISBN : 9783038600374 | Publisher : Park Books

Demand Responsive Transport: is Milton Keynes developing a post-Covid revolution in public transport? (2021-07-06)
Potter, Stephen; Enoch, Marcus; Valdez Juarez, Alan and Cook, Matthew
In : Universities Transport Study Group Annual Conference (5-6 Jul 2021, University of Loughborough [Online])

Consuming the million-mile electric car (2021-05-11)
Cook, Matthew; Valdez Juarez, AM; Catulli, Maurizio and Potter, Stephen
In : PLATE – Product lifetimes and the environment 3rd PLATE Conference, September 18–20, 2019 Berlin, Germany (18-20 Sep 2019, Berlin) (pp. 155-160)

Humans and robots coping with crisis – Starship, Covid-19 and urban robotics in an unpredictable world (2021)
Valdez Juarez, Alan; Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
In : 2021 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC) (17-20 Oct 2021, Melbourne, Australia) (pp. 2596-2601)

Shifting Smart City travel information systems to the Smart Region (2017-01-04)
Potter, Stephen and Valdez Juarez, Alan
In : Universities Transport Study Group Annual Conference (4-6 Jan 2017, Dublin)

Governance in niche development for a transition to a new mobility regime (2015-08-17)
Potter, Stephen; Valdez, Alan; Cook, Matthew and Langendahl, Per-Anders
In : International Sustainability Conference 2015 (25-28 Aug 2015, University of Sussex)

Big data without Big Brother: emerging issues in smart transport in Milton Keynes (2014-12-03)
Valdez Juarez, Alan-Miguel and Potter, Stephen
In : Digital Economy All-Hands Conference 2014 (3-5 Dec 2014, Imperial College, London)

Urban sensing systems for behaviour change: emerging issues in a smart transport project in Milton Keynes (2014-09-29)
Valdez, Alan-Miguel
In : ISM-Open Conference 2014 ‘Broadening the Scope' (29 Sep 2014, OUBS, Milton Keynes) (pp. 71-72)