The Mobile City Conference 2008

The Mobile City 2008 was a conference on locative and mobile media and the city. The conference took place on February 27 & 28 2008 in the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam. The conference aimed to bring together academics, urban professionals and media designers to answer the question: what happens to urban culture when physical and digital spaces merge?

Conference Overview

Here you’ll find the videos + slides of the keynote speeches.

You can also watch the slides only by the keynote speakers.

We have published the results of the survey as an evaluation of the conference.

You can read a report of the conference.

A number of external sources have written about The Mobile City.

Have a look at the photos of the conference.

Locative media and hybrid space
The physical, geographical city with its piazza’s, its neighborhoods and highway interchanges is overlaid with the ‘virtual space’ of electronic communication-, information- and observation-networks of GSM, GPS, CCTV, UMTS, WIFI, RFID, ETC. At the same time, the domain of digital space is increasingly becoming physical, an “internet of things”.

It is no longer useful or even possible to talk about the city as being only physical, or the digital world as purely ‘virtual’ (not real or not material). The physical city and the spaces of digital technologies merge into “hybrid space”. These developments in formerly separated domains profoundly influence the ideas we have of time, space and place, citizenship and identity.

Conference questions
Locative and mobile media can be seen as the interface between the digital domain and the city, bringing the digital world into the physical world, and at the same time uploading and sharing real world experiences back to the digital world.

  • From a theoretical point of view, what are useful concepts to talk about the blurring/merging of physical and digital spaces?
  • From a critical perspective, what does the emergence of locative and mobile media mean for urban culture, citizenship, and identities?
  • From a pragmatic point of view, what does all this mean for the work of urban professionals (architects, designers, planners), media designers, and academics?

The full conference text can be viewed here, or downloaded as a PDF file


The Mobile City 2008 Conference was sponsored by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research through the NWO-research program Transformations in Art and Culture.

The Mobile City is kindly sponsored by Dienst Kunst en Cultuur, gemeente Rotterdam.

The conference organization wishes to thank the Vereniging Trustfonds Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam for their kind financial guarantee.


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