About The Mobile City

Who are we?

The Mobile City is an independent research group that investigates the influence of digital media technologies on urban life, and the implications for urban design. We like to collaborate with institutions, organizations and individuals from various disciplines who share our interest in these issues.

  • We aim to understand the ways digital media technologies shape urban life. How is urban life changing, and what are the main challenges and opportunities? (More >>)
  • We want to bring these insights back to urban design. How can cities become better and more interesting places to live in? (More >>)

In our view it is no longer useful or even possible to understand urban life as separate from information and communication technologies. Today’s cities are shaped by a wide variety of digital technologies, with acronyms like GSM, GPS, CCTV , UMTS, LBS, AR, Wi-Fi, and RFID (or in plain English: mobile phone networks, satellite navigation, security camera’s, wireless data communication systems, location based services, augmented reality, chips and sensor-networks).

The city is physical and digital. It has become a ‘hybrid city’. Developments like these profoundly change our ideas of time and space, culture and identity, solidarity and citizenship.

As a consequence, urban design is expanding beyond architecture and urban planning. It includes all disciplines that contribute to the shaping of urban life: from architects and urban planners to policy makers; from media developers and artists to telecom companies; and from technology research to urban anthropology. We claim that the design of the hybrid city benefits from the mutual involvement of multiple disciplines.


In order to provide directions to the broad emerging field of new media urbanism, we specifically focus on three issues:

  • Home. How to feel at home amidst the diversity and tensions of urban life?
  • Ownership. How to evoke engagement with urban life and provide opportunities for citizens to act?
  • Play. How can playful interventions, from storytelling and art to urban gaming, stimulate unexpected encounters and enrich urban life?
    In the near future (2011-2013), The Mobile City will research and organize events on these topics.
What can we do for you?

We like to cooperate with third parties (commercial and non-profit; individuals and institutions) who are interested in integrating digital media technologies with urbanism and urban design. The Mobile City makes a distinction between its funded not-for-profit activities, as described here, and its commercial services.

Our core activities are:

  • Research. We investigate and write about current developments at the intersection of new technologies and urbanism.
  • Events. We regularly organize and contribute to conferences, workshops, and expert meetings with professionals from a range of disciplines and nationalities to exchange knowledge and collaborate.
  • Networking. We operate as a networked organization that seeks alliances with partner organizations. Join our social networks on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin to become part of these networks and share your insights and questions with us.
Contact us

If you have a proposal for collaboration, please contact us at info@themobilecity.nl. Or see the Contact page for more details.

Partners and sponsorships

The Mobile City wishes to thank its sponsors, partners and contributors that have enabled us to keep up this website and organize our events.

For 2011 The Mobile City has received a generous grant from the Pauwhof Fonds.

From 2008 to 2010 The Mobile City collaborated with (amongst others) Virtueel Platform, Shanghai eArts, Waag Society, The Architectural League of New York, Kitchen Budapest, V2_, Cybercity Ruhr and Dynamic City Foundation, the Dutch Culture Centre (DCC) in Shanghai, the Netherlands China Arts Foundation, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) and the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA), the research groups New Media, Public Sphere and Urban Culture at the University of Groningen & Playful Identities at the the Erasmus University Rotterdam & University of Utrecht. And we received grants from the Rotterdam municipality, the Rotterdam Trustfonds, and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

5 Trackbacks

  1. By van locatie naar locatie « Erfgoed2.0 on March 7, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    [...] De website van de Mobile City Conferentie geeft daarover een inzichtelijke tekst: “Hoe verandert de mobiele telefoon onze relatie met de stad? Wat is de invloed van GPS-navigatie op onze ervaring van ruimte en plaats? Wat betekent dit voor onze ideeën over mobiliteit? Wat betekent de opmars van mobiele informatie-, communicatie- en identificatiediensten voor de manier waarop wij met elkaar samenleven in de stad? En hoe kunnen architecten, stedenbouwkundigen en nieuwe media-ontwerpers hierop inspelen?”“De fysieke, geografische stad met z’n pleinen, buurten en kruispunten is het afgelopen decennium doorregen geraakt met de ‘virtuele ruimtes’ van elektronische communicatie-, informatie- en observatienetwerken zoals GSM, GPS, CCTV, UMTS, WIFI, RFID, etc. Tegelijkertijd wordt het virtuele domein in toenemende mate fysiek. Er wordt wel gesproken over een “internet der dingen”. Een ander voorbeeld hiervan is de opmars van ‘pervasive games’: digitale games met een fysieke component in de stedelijke ruimte. Kunnen we nog langer spreken over de stad als een puur fysieke ruimte? Of over de digitale wereld als uitsluitend ‘virtueel’? De fysieke stad en het digitale domein versmelten steeds meer tot een nieuwe “hybride ruimte”. Deze ruimte wordt vormgegeven door sociale processen die gelijktijdig plaatsvinden in zowel digitale als fysieke omgevingen. Wat is de invloed van deze ontwikkelingen op onze perceptie van tijd, ruimte en plaats, op noties van burgerschap en identiteit?” [...]

  2. [...] Mobile City is a Dutch organisation that creates a interdisciplinary network of professionals around the themes [...]

  3. By MOBILE CITY(2008) on June 24, 2010 at 1:17 am

    [...] City. Locative & Mobile Media/Urban Culture/ Identity”, Martijn de Waal, http://www.themobilecity.nl/background-information/[23 de Junio del 2010].   0 Comentarios Leave A [...]

  4. By smartmobs.com by Mobify on December 5, 2010 at 1:01 am

    [...] that is a hybrid of virtual and tangible? The quotation below is from a webpage and essay titled: About The Mobile City — “What happens to urban culture & identity when physical and digital … Smart mobs belong to both sides of the hybrid — don’t you think — because physical humans do [...]

  5. [...] that describes some of the imaginations that drive MMM sounds a lot like the statement made here. Ours appends things a bit, but carries much of the same reach: What happens when the experience of [...]

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