The Hackable City

The Hackable City

The Hackable City is a research project investigating on the role of digital media in the process of citymaking. The Hackable City is a cooperation between One Architecture and The Mobile City Foundation.

The Hackable City: making your own city


The Hackable City is an on-going research project on the role of digital media in the process of citymaking that resulted from a cooperation between One Architecture and The Mobile City Foundation. The project investigates the opportunities of digital media technologies for the empowerment of citizens and other stakeholders in a democratic process of citymaking. It also explores the shift in roles of and relationships between governments, (design) professionals and citizens in this process.

In a hackable city, new media technologies are employed 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. In such a city, the urban (data) infrastructure functions as a platform that can be appropriated and incrementally improved upon by various stakeholders.

The goal of this research project is to explore the opportunities as well as challenges of the rise of new media technologies for an open, democratic process of collaborative citymaking. How can citizens, design professionals, local government institutions and others employ digital media platforms in collaborative processes of urban planning, management and social organization, to contribute to a liveable and resilient city, with a strong social fabric?

The first contours for this project were laid out by One Architecture and The Mobile City during the Metropool NL workshop organized by the Deltametropool Society in 2012, resulting in the publication Eindhoven, Hackable World City. This was followed by an ‘embedded researcher’ project hosted at the University of Amsterdam and One Architecture and funded by the Creative Industries Research Centre Amsterdam, with contributions from Utrecht University. In 2014 funding was received from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for both a KIEM-exploration through Utrecht University and a Creative Industries research project hosted at the University of Amsterdam, The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), and One Architecture. For the latter, new partners joined the research coalition: The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Pakhuis de Zwijger, and the Cooperation for the Development of Buiksloterham.

The current research team consists of:
Matthijs Bouw (Researcher, Director One Architecture); Tara Karpinski (Embedded Researcher, University of Amsterdam); Froukje van de Klundert (Embedded Researcher, University of Amsterdam & One Architecture); Michiel de Lange (Researcher, Utrecht University); Karel Millenaar (Designer, AUAS); Martijn de Waal (Project leader, UvA / AUAS)

Melvin Sidarta (Research) & Juliette Sung (Visual Communication)

This project has been funded among others through CIRCA, NWO KIEM and NWO Creative Industries Embedded Research grants.

The Hackable City website


For updates of and outcomes of The Hackable City research programme, see The Hackable City Website