Digital Cities 9 workshop “Hackable Cities: From Subversive City Making to Systemic Change”

27 June 2015 08:00

The Mobile City is an independent research group founded in 2007 by Martijn de Waal and Michiel de Lange. The Mobile City investigates the influence of digital media technologies on urban life, and what this means for urban design and policy. How can we employ digital media technologies to make our cities more just, improve the quality of urban life, as well as make our cities more interesting places to live in?

We do independent research, consult, give lectures, organize events and workshops, and collaborate with organizations and individuals who share our interests in digital media and urban culture, from disciplines like architecture and urbanism, media, design, technology, and urban policy.

In our view, it is no longer useful or even possible to understand urban life as separate from information and communication technologies. The way cities function and how people live in cities is profoundly shaped by ubiquitous digital media technologies, such as wireless networks, social networks, surveillance technologies, location based services, augmented reality, gps-navigation, embedded sensors, as well as the emergence of the internet of things and ‘big’ and open data.

Taken together, the rise of these technologies is often labeled as the emergence of the ‘smart city’. The promise is that these technologies will optimize all kinds of urban processes, from energy use to traffic flows and as such improve the quality of urban life. We aim to broaden this scope on the role of technology in the city. How are new media technologies affecting urban life across various domains, including how we live, work, travel, meet, spend our leisure time, and so on? How are our ideas of time, space and place, culture and identity, publicness and citizenship changing? And what does that mean for the ways our cities are governed?

Our focus lies on the role of digital media technologies in the social and political domains of urban life. How can citizens use digital media technologies to organize themselves around issues of communal interest, feel a sense of ownership, and act? How can playful interventions, from storytelling and art to urban gaming, stimulate unexpected encounters and enrich urban life?

We argue that the design of the media city benefits from the mutual involvement of multiple disciplines. Urban design can no longer be understood as solely a physical discipline. Apart from architects, urban planners and policy makers, it now should include media developers, artists, telecom companies, technology research and urban anthropology, and in our approach we always try to bring these various world together.

More details about the event can be found at: