NWO Creative Industries funds “Hackable City” project

We are happy to announce that NWO has funded our project “The Hackable City: Collaborative City making in Urban Living Lab Buiksloterham”. The project is funded through NWO’s Creative Industries Embedded Research program. Project leader is Martijn de Waal. The project runs from April 1 2015 until April 1 2016.

Against the background of the CLICKNL Smart & Social Media and Big Data (Media & ICT) research agendas, this project investigates the role of new media technologies in urban planning, governance, and management – a collection of practices we call city making.

Two developments drive this project:

1) The rise of ‘big’ and ‘open’ data; allowing for new ways to analyze and visualize salient urban issues and development opportunities.

2) The rise of social media platforms; allowing citizens, companies and institutions to (self) organize publics around these issues and opportunities in new ways.

These two trends hold the promise of providing citizens with agency to become active change agents in the development of their cities. But they also raise new societal questions about the democratic governance of our cities.

Two complementary research lines will explore these issues. Building upon the technological trends mentioned above, an embedded researcher will design three (new media) prototypes to be tested in the redevelopment of Buiksloterham in Amsterdam- Noord, addressing issues of agency. A university researcher will simultaneously study the societal aspects of these new opportunities from the perspective of governance.

Point of departure is our notion of ‘the hackable city’. In a hackable city, new media technologies are used to open up urban institutions and infrastructures to systemic change in the public interest. It combines top-down smart city technologies with bottom-up ‘smart citizen’ initiatives.

This study results in prototypes for a ‘hackable citymaking’ process, that can serve as a (commercial) development models for designers, as well as in a scholarly reflection on the societal opportunities and challenges that come with it.

“The Hackable City” is an ongoing research project involving collaborations with among others One ArchitecturePakhuis De ZwijgerMinistry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, and the Coöperatieve Vereniging Buiksloterham. It has been funded among others through CIRCANWO KIEM and most recently NWO Creative Industries Embedded Research grants.

See the project page at www.themobilecity.nl/hackable.

Michiel de Lange
Michiel de Lange (1976) is an Assistant Professor in New Media Studies at Utrecht University, researching mobile media and urban culture and identity. He is the co-founder of The Mobile City, an independent research group founded in 2007 that investigates the influence of digital media technologies on urban life and the implications for urban design and policy. Michiel is trained as a cultural anthropologist, and holds a PhD in philosophy (2010) with a dissertation about mobile media technologies and urban identities. He collaborated in a locative media art & science project (www.nomadicmilk.net). He worked for  Kennisland, a Dutch think-tank that aims to strengthen the knowledge-based society. Here he worked on several projects at the intersection of ICTs and the city, e.g. co-organizing the Creative Capital conference. He also volunteered and worked for Cybersoek, a computer neighborhood center in Amsterdam. He is advisor e-culture at Mediafonds. Michiel is on Twitter and LinkedIn.