The Hackable City: Citymaking in a Platform Society

For the journal Architectural Design, we wrote a contribution for the Special Issue: 4D Hyperlocal: A Cultural Toolkit for the Open-Source City.


Can computer hacking have positive parallels in the shaping of the built environment? The Hackable City research project was set up with this question in mind, to investigate the potential of digital platforms to open up the citymaking process. Its cofounders Martijn de Waal, Michiel de Lange and Matthijs Bouw here outline the tendencies that their studies of collaborative urban development initiatives around the world have revealed, and ask whether knowledge sharing and incremental change might be a better way forward than top-down masterplans.


Download the publication:

de Waal, M., de Lange, M. and Bouw, M. (2017), The Hackable City: Citymaking in a Platform Society. Archit. Design, 87: 50–57. doi:10.1002/ad.2131.

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 ( 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.