Already more than half of the world’s population lives in cities – and this number is growing. Modern cities depend largely on invisible infrastructures that usually only become noticeable when they cease functioning. Similarly, the internet is also a material infrastructure, although it is often portrayed as immaterial. The much-hyped ‘Smart Cities’ promise to digitise the urban merging of these two infrastructural layers. But what happens when they fail? Can cities be smart – and should they be in the first place? What are the interests and values embodied in these infrastructures? How do we make sure that cities in the digital society remain public spaces? How can they be designed to foster social benefits and not just commercial interests?
STEPHEN GRAHAM is Professor of Cities and Society at Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. He has an interdisciplinary background linking human geography, urbanism and the sociology of technology. Since the early 1990s Prof. Graham has used this foundation to develop critical perspectives addressing how cities are being transformed through remarkable changes in infrastructure, mobility, digital media, surveillance, security, militarism and verticality.
The lecture will be held in English and simultaneously translated into German. There will be a livestream. Please register here in advance to save your spot for the event at Säälchen:
The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb) are organising an academic lecture series on „Making Sense of the Digital Society“. The high-profile series thrives to develop a European perspective on the processes of transformation that our societies are currently undergoing. It started with an inaugural lecture by Manuel Castells and was continued by Christoph Neuberger, Elena Esposito and Marion Fourcade. Shoshana Zuboff and Nick Couldry are the upcoming speakers of our lecture series.