The Mobile City Conference 27 & 28 February 2008 @ NAI, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

On: December 19, 2007
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About Anne Helmond
Anne Helmond is Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture and Program Director of the MA New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. She is a member of the Digital Methods Initiative research collective where she focuses her research on the infrastructure of social media platforms and apps. Her research interests include digital methods, software studies, platform studies, app studies, infrastructure studies and web history.


Logo Mobile CityThe Mobile City conference
27 & 28 February 2008
NAi (Netherlands Architecture Institute) Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Announcement & Call for Participation

“The Mobile City” is a two-day conference about locative & mobile technologies, urban culture and identity. The Mobile City brings academics, architects, urban professionals and media designers together to address the question: what happens to urban culture when physical and digital spaces merge? Keynote speakers are Stephen Graham, Tim Cresswell, Malcolm McCullough and Christian Nold.

The physical, geographical city with its piazza’s, its neighbourhoods and crossings intersects with the ‘virtual space’ of electronic communication-, information- and observation-networks of GSM, GPS, CCTV, UMTS, WIFI, RFID, etc. At the same time, the domain of digital space is increasingly becoming physical, an “internet of things” is emerging. Another example is the rise of ‘pervasive games’, digital games with a physical component in urban space. Is it still useful or even possible to talk about the city as being only physical? Or about the digital world as purely ‘virtual’ (in the sense of ‘not real’ or immaterial)? The physical city and the spaces of digital technologies merge into a new “hybrid space”. Hybrid spaces are shaped by the social processes that concurrently take place in digital and physical spaces. What is the influence of these developments on the ideas we have of time, space and place, citizenship and identity?

Conference questions
Locative and mobile media can be understood as interfaces between the digital domain and the city, as bridges between the social processes that formerly took place in more separated domains (digital or physical) but now are spilling over into each other. The Mobile City will ask the following questions:

  • From a theoretical point of view, what are useful concepts to talk about the blurring/merging of physical and digital spaces?
  • From a critical perspective, what does the emergence of locative and mobile media mean for urban culture, citizenship, and identities?
  • From a professional point of view, what does all this mean for the work of urban professionals (architects, designers, planners), media designers, and academics?

The full program text is available at our website,

The conference organizers have set up a special weblog devoted to the themes of the conference at Relevant contributions are welcome.

Call for Participation – Workshops
On February 27th two small scale intensive workshops will be held. The first session is about Urban Culture and locative media (with Stephen Graham and Christian Nold), the second session about mobility and new technologies (with Tim Cresswell and Malcolm McCullough). Please send a very brief bio with relevant current and past activities, and short motivation to Indicate what you would like to contribute to, and get from the session(s). Only a limited number of places is available. When interest supersedes availability, the organizing committee will select participants. Registration closes at January 31st.

Call for Participation – Project Presentations
During the main conference on February 28th, Keynote speeches will be alternated with short project presentations about locative and/or mobile technologies for artistic purposes, business, research, etc. We are thinking of: locative media art, commercial locative services, pervasive gaming, mobile marketing campaigns, geo-tagging or geo-storytelling, research projects etc. etc. Your presentation will have to fit in 10 minutes, and be as concrete as possible. Your project will also be featured on our website. If you wish to present, please send us an email about your project at Please do so before january 31st.

The Mobile City takes place 27 and 28 February 2008 in the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
February 27th: Small scale in-depth workshops
February 28th: Main conference with:

  • Stephen Graham – Professor of Human Geography, Durham University
  • Tim Cresswell – Professor of Geography, University of London
  • Malcolm McCullough – Associate Professor University of Michigan
  • Christian Nold – Independent artist and lecturer based in London

From the Netherlands experts such as Rob van Kranenburg (Waag Society), Nanna Verhoeff (University of Utrecht) and Marc Schuilenburg (Free University Amsterdam, Studio Popcorn) will also participate.

More info, call for participants, and registration:
The conference fee is € 25,-

The Mobile City is organized by:

  • ‘New Media, Public Sphere, Urban Culture’ project at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG).
  • ‘Playful Identities’ project at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) and University Utrecht (UU).
  • Netherlands Architecture Institute Rotterdam (NAi).

Conference organizers: Martijn de Waal (RUG), Michiel de Lange (EUR), Oene Dijk (NAi).

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