Photo Credits: Matthias Ripp

Is a "smart" city efficient and sustainable, or does it allow for a chaos of anonymity and personal freedom? Do these goals preclude each other or are both possible? For some, the modern city is a human-made open source production, some see it as a sales market, while others view it as a symbol of public participation.

In the “City” track, we’ll be illuminating the effects digitization has on cities and want to discuss what livalble cities of the future could look like. What exactly does the increasing digital interconnectedness of urban space mean for city residents? Do streetlights equipped with automatic light sensors increase sustainability, or do they represent a loss of anonymous urban space? From Sidewalk Labs in Toronto, to Amazon in New York, to the Google Campus in Berlin: We’ll be discussing whether the resistance against the influence of big tech in cities signifies a growing global resistance to platform capitalism and private sector urban planning, or if these just local phenomena. We'll ask if a smart city is better planned by local governments and citizens, or if algorithms can accomplish this more efficiently. Or would the best solution perhaps be a mix of both? We’re think about what sort of analogue urban spaces and meeting places are required in a digital society and what these might look like. What potential does architecture have in all of this? How much green space and parks does humankind need and what modes of transport are appropriate to make a city liveable? And what’s going on outside of our cities—will the “Future Cities” be located in the countryside? What are the effects of urbanization and what is the impact of rural exodus in times of rural gigafactories?
Finally, we examine the question: What comes after the smart city?

From rents to public spaces to climate-resilient cities: These debates aren’t just discussed by tech nerds, mobility researchers and urban planners, but with the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders. There’s something to learn from almost every discipline when analysing the city. We’re looking forward to your critical, creative, scientific or artistic contributions to this track.