Call for Conference Contributions “Beyond Smart Cities Today”

Jiska Engelbert at Erasmus University Rotterdam is organizing a very interesting event (18 and 19 September, 2019) at which I will be speaking. See call here:

Beyond Smart Cities Today

Call for Conference Contributions

Conference title          Beyond smart cities today
When?                         18 and 19 September, 2019
Where?                        Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Hosts                           Centre for BOLD Cities, Erasmus Institute for Public KnowledgeKnowledge Lab Urban Big Data, Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens.

Queries and abstracts to    Jiska Engelbert,
Deadline abstracts              20 June 2019

Confirmed keynotes

Rob Kitchin (Maynooth University)
Ayona Datta (King’s College)
Alberto Vanolo (University of Turin)
Maria Kaika (University of Amsterdam)
Willem Schinkel (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Bianca Wylie (Tech Reset Canada & #BlockSidewalk)
Michiel de Lange (Utrecht University)
Carina Listerborn (University of Malmö)
Dorien Zandbergen (University of Amsterdam & GR1P Foundation)
Linda Kool (Rathenau Institute)
Liesbet van Zoonen (Erasmus University, LDE Centre for BOLD Cities)

About Beyond Smart Cities Today

The last decade has seen crucial critical sociologies, geographies, histories and ethnographies of “the actually existing smart city” and so-called paradigmatic smart cities (Shelton, Zook & Wiig, 2015). As a consequence of these efforts, critical urban scholars across the social sciences and humanities can now apply established theoretical notions and normative concepts in unearthing the neoliberal premises and implications of smart cities.

However, are these crucial scholarly exposés and (re-)politicizations of current smart city practices “enough” to imagine and enact radically different smart cities? What have these analyses enabled, where do they fall short, who do they exclude, and is it not time to move beyond them? Moreover, how do smart city critiques and activist scholars relate to civil society campaigns and political movements that claim the right to the (future) smart city? What are the affordances and constraints of academic analyses? Is it at all possible to radically re-imagine future smart cities within the current (post-) political economies of smart city thinking and academia today?

This two-day expert symposium aims to provide the time and space to reflect and act upon these kinds of questions.

We welcome work and ideas from all disciplines that are concerned with the academic and/or political dimensions of deeming possible and enabling better smart cities. However, we especially encourage you to consider if and how their work can seek dialogue any of the following three lines of enquiry, which are central to the contributions of the confirmed keynote speakers:

  1. What are the implications of smart cities as object of inquiry of so many critical branches of academic scholarship, from social geography and anthropology, to philosophy, public administration and media & communication studies? Which common politics, ethics and normative ideas about citizenship and social justice (should) underscore this scholarship?
  2. What has critical smart scholarship not exposed enough, who has it left excluded, and what is under-theorised? Which/whose (academic) politics and economies account for these exclusions, and how can they be overcome?
  3. How can critical smart city scholarship effectively intervene in present smart city practices, but also, how could it fuel claiming the right to the future smart city? How can arts, culture or other media and technologies feature in making or remaking radically different smart cities?

How can you join?

Short abstracts (around 200 words) that detail your proposed topic for a panel presentation or other kind of contribution should be e-mailed to Jiska Engelbert ( by 20 June 2019. Please clearly state your institutional affiliation. Alternatively, you may also want to attend (and not present at) the symposium. In that case, please explain why attending the event is important for your work.

Attending the conference (including lunch and snacks, but excluding travel to/accommodation in Rotterdam) is free of charge for those who have either their abstract or presence approved by the conference organisers.

We are looking forward to welcoming you in Rotterdam!

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.