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Comparative urbanism has been proposed as an important way of both interrogating the generalizability of urban theory and attending to specific cultural and historical contexts. This seminar focuses on smart urbanism as an analytical lens, and asks how this concept might aid the comparison of geographically, historically, and culturally diverse contexts.

Detail Summary
Date 15 May 2018
Time 15:00 - 17:00

By bringing perspectives from different regions to bear on a number of central urban themes, the Critical Comparative Urbanism seminar series explores the value of such a comparative approach for our understanding of both specific urban contexts and global urbanisms. Each seminar brings together two speakers with shared thematic expertise based on urban cases from different regions. The fourth seminar in the series focuses on smart urbanism.

During the seminar, both speakers present their research on smart urbanism in one specific urban case study. Afterwards, they enter into a dialogue with eachother and the audience to explore the conceptual and practical (im)possibilities of comparison between, and theorization through, different urban cases.


Andrés Luque-Ayala is Assistant Professor in the department of geography at the University of Durham. His research agenda revolves around three interrelated topics and their implications for cities, particularly in the Global South. First, the development of a critical geography of energy, through new questions around energy politics, security and risk. Second, a socio-technical examination of ‘smart’ forms of urbanization and the coupling of digital and material infrastructures as a new security apparatus in the city. Finally, a critical evaluation of urban responses to climate change and the disruption of the relationship between climate mitigation and adaptation in cities. 

Dorien Zandbergen is researcher at the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam and an anthropologist of digital culture. She studies digital culture as manifesting at the cross-overs of popular culture, corporate culture and transnational politics. Her recent publications include the documentary In search of the Smart Citizen (with Sara Blom, Creative Commons 2015), “From data fetishism to quantifying selves” (with Tamar Sharon, New Media & Society, 2016) and “We Are Sensemakers.” The (Anti-)politics of Smart City Co-creation" (Public Culture, 2017). She also founded Gr1p, a non-profit dedicated to broader public understanding of the material politics of the digital society.


The seminar is free and open to anyone. Please let us know if you are coming by sending an e-mail using the button below or email to

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Roeterseilandcampus - building B/C/D (entrance B/C)
Roeterseilandcampus - building B/C/D (entrance B/C)

Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
1018 WV Amsterdam