CFP New Media & Self-Organisation in Urban and Neighbourhood Governance Delft 16-17 May 2013

Since we are one of the keynote speaker’s at this event, we wholeheartedly recommend this call for papers!

International Conference

Using ICT, Social Media and Mobile Technologies to Foster Self-Organisation in Urban and Neighbourhood Governance


Date and venue

May 16-17, 2013
Library at Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

Conference Theme and Issues

The use of social media and mobile communication technologies has grown rapidly over the last years. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, MSN, Blogger, ICQ, Blogspot, RSS feeds and mobile Internet technologies have facilitated a constant increase in the number of virtual networks. Research has shown that Internet and virtual networks give rise to personalised communities that exist both in virtual and real spaces. The spatial-virtual intersection is prominent in ‘volunteered geographic information’, that is created by individuals who use geo-visualization interfaces (Google Maps).

The popularity of Facebook, Twitter and other social media has spurred a demand for new forms of self-organising governance by citizens and forms of participatory planning. However, real two-way communication between residents and policymakers through social media is still scarce. Standard public participation instruments (e.g. town hall meetings) are outdated, unappealing, disconnected from residents’ needs and difficult to fit into daily activity schemes. Hence, resident involvement in neighbourhood affairs and collective action are often below the potential given residents’ willingness to contribute.

Whereas many recognise the potential of social media to involve new groups (e.g. youths) and offer new ways of communication and participation, there is little knowledge on the utility, mobilising potential and effectiveness of social media and mobile technologies in this context. How can social media supplement other participation forms? What about take up rates of social media-based platforms? To what extent do virtual platforms really affect decision-making and residents’ approach towards local everyday liveability issues? What are preconditions and restrictions for effectively using ICT and social media in self-organisation? And to what extent do new practices require adjustments of theories of active citizenship, social capital, participatory planning and collective action?

Aim and spin-off of the conference

The aim is to identify, present and discuss scientific research into and local experiences with the mobilising potential of ICT, social media and mobile technologies and ICT in the context of neighbourhood governance, self-organising citizens and participatory planning.

We particularly welcome academic researchers who are willing to present papers that discuss the aforementioned questions. Delegates from local governments, NGOs, housing authorities and resident organisations can also attend without presenting a paper.

Our intention is to work towards an edited volume for a renowned publisher or a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal. Participants who would like to contribute to this project have to submit their full paper before the start of the conference. If the number of eligible papers exceeds the publication space, a selection will be made by the editors.

Conference Program

A two-day program, with key note speeches, parallel paper sessions, and plenary debate.

Confirmed key note speakers are:
Jennifer Evans-Cowley is Professor and Associate Dean at Ohio State University. Jennifer
has published several influential articles on Internet-based participation tools and the future
of mobile technology in participatory planning. In a 2011 Planetizen article, she was
recognised as one of the leading thinkers in Urban Planning and Technology.
Rich Ling is a Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, working on the sociology of
Technology. He has published several renowned books on the social impacts of mobile
phones, such as “New Tech, New Ties. How Mobile Communication is Reshaping Social
Cohesion” (2009) and recently “Mobile Communication: Bringing Us Together and Tearing
Us Apart” (2012), with Scott Campbell. Only last month, “Taken For Grantedness. The
Embedding of Mobile Communication into Society” came out.
Martijn de Waal is founder of The Public Matters, a private firm studying the role of new
media in the public sphere. He is also co-founder of The Mobile City, an independent
research group that investigates the influence of digital media technologies on urban life and
the implications for urban design.

For more information on:

Further information and questions?

Please contact Mrs. Christel Swarttouw-Hofmeijer of the OTB Research Institute:
Phone: +31 (0)15 278 3625

Organizing committee:
Dr. Reinout Kleinhans, Prof. Dr. Maarten van Ham & Christel Swarttouw-Hofmeijer
OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology
Jaffalaan 9
2628 BX Delft
The Netherlands


The Mobile City website is maintained by Martijn de Waal and Michiel de Lange.