Session 47: Grassroots Digital Urbanism, Refusal, Sovereignty, and the Glitch

Guest Speaker

Niloufar Vadiati

Ph.D. in Urban Geography

DFG Walter Benjamin Research Fellow, Digital City Science, HafenCity University Hamburg

Date and Time

June 23rd, 2024

2 pm to 4 pm (ET)

8 pm to 10 pm (CET)

9:30 pm to 11:30 pm (IR)


The dominant forms of digital urbanism, the disciplinary and top-down digital mediation of smart cities by city governments and the monopolist and entrepreneurial digital platformisation by giant tech companies, are being contested among many right-to-the-city and technological sovereignty activists, refusing to be excluded from the ‘backend’ of algorithmically foreclosed urban making. 

Telling the tales of how these grassroots practices of computational urbanism are being unfolded and inter-related in the city of Berlin, Germany, this presentation explores how the refusal toward ubiquitous digital mediation of urban living and urban processes are being unfolded across space, body, power, and labor.

Suggested Reading: 

Speaker’s Biography: 

Niloufar Vadiati is an urbanist working on the relationship between technologies and the cities. 

She is now a DFG Walter Benjamin fellow at Digital City Science (DCS) chair at the HafenCity University Hamburg, working on Grassroots Digital. ‌She is also teaching Digital Urbanism at Leuphana University of Lüneburg, editor of Digital Geography and Society Journal and research associate of Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). Before joining DCS, she worked at department of Economic Geography at HafenCity university Hamburg for her PhD on Urban Legacy of London Olympic Games among Local East Londoners. 

Conceptual framework article:

Alternatives to smart cities: A call for consideration of grassroots digital urbanism