Direkt zum Inhalt

Summer School 2023 – Digital Cities

Rainer Danielzyk
Lena Greinke

“A Contested Relationship? Urbanisation & the Digital, vs. Digitalisation & the Urban”

6 – 8 July 2023 in Luxembourg

The ARL – Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association in cooperation with the Department of Geography and Spatial Planning at the University of Luxembourg is inviting applications for the ARL International Summer School 2023 on “A CONTESTED RELATIONSHIP? Urbanisation & the Digital, vs. Digitalisation & the Urban”, which will take place from 6 to 8 July 2023 in Luxembourg (arrival scheduled for 5 July 2023). Advanced doctoral students from all disciplines are invited to apply. The summer school will be held in English. The deadline for applications is 26 March 2023.


This year, the Summer School is situated within recent debates and developments about what was initially called ‘smart cities’. Judging from our observations, related urban policy frames have reached another level of sophistication, after having undergone uncritical praise and popular tech-hype by the 2010s (in what could be understood as a Phase 1), and the more recent practice of policy formulation, implementation and aiming for local impact (which could be considered a Phase 2). We are now looking forward to discussing subsequent events and outcomes in the complex, often contested relationship between urbanisation and the digital, and digitalisation and the urban, respectively.

These developments include the more subtle forms of how digital means and processes have become entrenched in urban practices, collective and individual. They comprise issues of surveillance and control (for example in urban domains, or at the workplace); components of infrastructure that provide the backbone of related systems (such as data centres); just-city frames that have risen in response to perceived digital divides in societies; or systems of provision in retail and services that tend to become hegemonic, if not totalitarian (such as Amazon.com). Various forms of governance are also involved here, not only at municipal levels, but also fostered by national and metropolitan governments, for example in strategies of smart specialization.


In this context we invite contributions from doctoral students internationally and across a range of disciplines, such as geography, planning, urban studies and other social sciences and humanities. Our aim is to have a broad range of issues in the above topical contexts addressed, including but not necessarily confined to the following:

  • The waxing and waning of digital interventions in urban-regional planning
  • New relational geographies of digital infrastructures
  • The rise of platforms as digital mediums of the urban and urbanization
  • The role of big corporations (such as Google, Amazon, Facebook etc.) in urban-regional development
  • The role of new digital products in conditions of crisis and emergency
  • Virtual urban environments and imaginaries (e.g. Metaverse, social media)
  • Governance and policy dimensions in urban and regional development


The Summer School will take place on the University of Luxembourg’s Campus Belval in Esch-sur- Alzette. Situated on a former ironworks site in the south of the Grand Duchy, the campus is part of a dynamically developing urban district hosting various public research organisations, commercial office buildings, residencies as well as shops, bars and restaurants. The train station Belval-Université connects the campus with the capital city (30 minutes journey, every 15 minutes).


Our aim is to stimulate discussions, gain insights and develop new research questions around the subject of this year’s summer school. Participants will have the opportunity to present their research and receive individual feedback from a number of participating international scholars. In addition, keynote speeches by distinguished academics in the field of spatial justice offer the opportunity to intensify the debate and develop further research ideas. The programme is complemented by a field trip and social activities.


Please see the call for applications for further information on the event, the terms of participation, and information on the application process.


For further questions, please contact Dr. Lena Greinke (lena.greinke@arl-net.de, +49 (0)511 34842 34).