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The fifth MEDIACITY conference reflects on a social smart city. 

MEDIACITY 5 promises to expand our understanding of both media and the city today, and to articulate new sites of practice and working methods for an expanding field.

Much of our thinking around technology and the city is based around polarising paradigms. On one hand we have the smart city agenda that is underpinned by a vision of data-centred optimisation of urban systems and on the other hand we have a open-source, citizen driven approach based around ad-hoc practices and prototyping of counter-culture scenarios. 

These paradigms of city visions are described variously through terms such as 'digital city, screen city, media city, sentient city, u-city, fusion city, hybrid city, intelligent city, connectiCity, pervasive city and the smart city' and we seek to look beyond the rhetoric and critically reflect and imagine new models and approaches to media and the city. In particular we want to challenge over-simplified assumptions around terms such as smart city, and understand in more detail the complex interactions between social actors and technological transformations of the city. 

The aim of the conference is to consider more fully the multiple, subtle, and interdependent spatio-temporalities which together work to constitute ICT-based urban change. In particular we will discuss models of participation, action and agency, shifting capacity to act beyond the ‘like’ button and to take responsibility for the future shape of the city.

The conference addresses the approaches and the corresponding design responses that meet the challenges of social, citizen-centred, smart cities and communities. It will offer reflective, high quality theoretical and design-based responses to the question of how media and ICTs create can alternative responses to current societal challenges.

Keynote speakers: Saskia Sassen, the Robert S Lynd Professor of Sociology and Chair, The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University, and John Thackara, the founder and director of Doors of Perception, a global network of design thinkers. 

Please contact for any enquiries.

MEDIACITY 5 is jointly organised by the School of Architecture, Design & Environment and i-DAT (Institute of Digital Art and Technology) at Plymouth University.

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