City Making in the Digital Age is part of City Making Lab, a series of programs focusing on digitalization and the city, as a co-operation between Hybrid Space Lab and Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG).
Digitalization transforms our cities, with far-reaching efforts towards technology-powered increased efficiency, sustainability and at times participation. This raises new questions on privacy, data governance and (digital) design, historically unaddressed by city planning, architecture, civil society and governance. With cities worldwide striving to earn a “Smart City” reputation, it is however disputed who exactly benefits from these concepts.
Eager to showcase themselves as innovative and future-ready, cities worldwide are currently in the process of implementing an array of new technologies. These are intended to make city life more efficient, convenient, sustainable, and in some cases, even more democratic. This developments, framed as the “Smart City,” often take the form of sensors that gather data about traffic conditions, air quality, waste collection, energy use and more – all generating reams of data with the goal of to enabling governments to make informed decisions and to optimize processes of urban infrastructure. Next to this, digital platforms offer services that transform the city (use). Many cities also partner with private companies in their quest to become “smart”, hoping to profit from external tech knowledge to make up for a lack of in-house expertise.
Centering the empowerment of the city user, the Smart Citizen, it is urgent to approach and steer technological developments to meet citizens’ needs and desires, supporting our visions of how we want to live in our cities!
Benjamin Knödler, der Freitag
Marleen Stikker is the keynote speaker at City Making Lab that Hybrid Space Lab is organizing together with Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society on Thursday 21 February 2019.
Marleen is the co-founder of WAAG Society, an Amsterdam based interdisciplinary non-profit media lab and research institute. In her work, she aims to put social values at the core of technology by creating and promoting open, fair and inclusive innovations. She has been active in the field of internet and digital activism since the early nineties.
How can technology meaningfully improve citizens’ lives?
“City Making in the Digital Age” is part of City Making Lab, a program focusing on digitalization and the city. City Making Lab is a co-operation between Hybrid Space Lab and Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG).
City Making Lab investigates ongoing developments at the intersection of cities and digital technology, engaging with urban mobility and public space, new patterns of space utilization for living and working, circular city, climate adaptation and healthy cities.
City Making Lab aims to bridge the gap between data and privacy experts and urbanists, architects, city makers, civil society and governance.
The leitmotif of City Making Lab – “digital macht stadt” – captures the potential of digital technology to power city development and re-define power in the city.