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September 2018

The Politics of Urban Digital Infrastructures

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 will talk about this in his lecture ”The Politics of Urban Political Infrastructures“ on 24 September in Berlin. The lecture is part of the academic series “Making Sense of Digital Society”, which is organised by the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb together with the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet und Society (HIIG) since December 2017.
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. His books include Telecommunications and the City (with Simon Marvin), Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructures Fail and Vertical: The City From Satellites to Bunkers. Prof Graham’s 2011 book Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism was nominated for the Orwell Prize in political writing and was the Guardian’s book of the week.

About the Event

  • 6:30 p.m.                           Doors open
  • 7:00 – 7:15 p.m.               Welcome address and introduction
  • 7:15 – 8:00 p.m.               The Politics of Urban Political Infrastructures / Stephen Graham (Newcastle University)
  • 8:00 – 9:00 p.m.               Moderated discussion and questions from the audience
  • 9:00 – 10:00 p.m.            Get-together
The event will be in English and will be simultaneously translated into German. For press accreditation, please contact Florian Lüdtke.
This event will be recorded and broadcasted live. By signing up you consent to be photographed, filmed and/or otherwise recorded during the event and to the use of the content in connection with the promotion and public relations of the event.


Säälchen – Holzmarkt  
Holzmarktstraße 25 
10243 Berlin

Date and Time

24 September 2018
6:30 bis 10:00 p.m. 


Please register via the online form here.

Infos zur Veranstaltung


Säälchen – Holzmarkt
Holzmarktstraße 25
10243 Berlin

Contact person

Christiane Matzen, M. A.
Head of Science Communication

Christiane Matzen, M. A.

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 41

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