30 January, 2020

Call for Applications ARL International Summer School 2020 - "Smart cities and beyond", 7-9 Sept. 2020

Call for Applications
ARL International Summer School 2020 
“Smart cities and beyond” 

7 – 9 September 2020, Luxembourg 

The event is jointly organized by: 
German Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL) 
University of Luxembourg / Department of Geography and Spatial Planning 

The German Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung, ARL) in cooperation with the University of Luxembourg is inviting applications for the ARL International Summer School 2020 on “Smart cities and beyond”, which will take place from 7 to 9 September 2020 in Luxembourg (arrival scheduled for 6 September 2020). Advanced doctoral students from all disciplines are invited to apply. The summer school will be held in English. The deadline for applications is 2 March 2020. 

In recent years, “smart cities” has become a hegemonic concept in urban discourses, referring either to the broad set of technologies introduced towards steering infrastructure and the intelligent use of resources, or to improving the built environment by clever planning approaches. Firms, transfer agencies and municipalities seem to be working hard on the implementation of smart metres, energy efficiency, intelligent mobility, and the like. 

However, the scholarly literature on digital cities clearly demonstrates that there are externalities, uncertainties and risks associated with the hype and the rash introduction of ‘smartness’. Also, open discourses should not be confined to a narrow understanding of smart technologies. As it is yet rather unclear what these may mean in urban and regional contexts, the ARL International Summer School 2020 is particularly dedicated to discussing these questions. Our aim is to uncover the whole range of issues, potentials and risks that are associated with Smart Cities, to reconstruct related policy narratives and to link research and practice insofar as it concerns the design of robust strategies of urban and regional development. 

The German Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (Akademie für Raumforschung und Lande-splanung, ARL) realizes its International Summer School 2020 in cooperation with the Department of Geography and Spatial Planning at the University of Luxembourg. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions that explore Smart Cities with a critical perspective, focusing on the relations between two major subjects of study: ‘smartness’, high-tech, Internet of Things, big data developments, infrastructure, and intellectual property on the one hand; and cities, urban regions and related governance processes and discourses on the other hand. The presentations and discussions should deliver insight into selected facets of smartness, relate these to the role they may play in/for urban and regional development, and address their consequences for spatial planning and development strategies. Specifically, we invite contributions from early career researchers whose approaches and early-stage analyses demonstrate a particular interest in:
  • Applying the Smart City so far (municipal experiences),
  • Planning the Smart City in spatial regards, 
  • Governance and policy dimensions, Smart City policy discourses,
  • The role of big corporations (such as Google, Amazon, Facebook etc.),
  • Smart City and the rise of platform economies,
  • Historical avenues of practicing ‘new technologies’ in urban and regional development, 
  • Conceptual and methodological approaches to studying digital urbanism,
  • Smart technologies as drivers for community based economies/collaborative endeavours,
  • Urban governance and the social construction of cities.


Prof. Guy Baeten, PhD – Professor of Urban Studies at Malmö University and Director of the Institute for Urban Research, Malmö, Sweden

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Karvonen, PhD – Associate Professor and Director of Doctoral Studies in the Di-vision of Urban and Regional Studies at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Bastian Lange – Lecturer at Leipzig University and founder of Multiplicities – Office for Spatial Development and Urban Planning, Berlin, Germany

Asst. Prof. Dr. Agnieszka Leszczynski – Assistant Professor in Geography at Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Stijn Oosterlynck – Associate Professor in Urban Sociology at the University of Ant-werp and Chair of the Centre for Research on Environmental and Social Change (CRESC) and the Ant-werp Urban Studies Institute, Antwerp, Belgium

Prof. Dr. Liesbet Van Zoonen – Professor of Sociology and Dean of the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands

The German Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung, ARL) is an independent non-university institution and one of the prime addresses in Europe for research and advice on sustainable spatial development. It consists of a network of non-paid academics and practitioners who participate in tempo-rary working groups on the regional, national, and international levels. The ARL is a think tank for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary cooperation between research and practice on all important spatial issues. It is particularly committed to the exchange and dissemination of knowledge. Support for young researchers and practitioners is well-established at the ARL. The ARL is a member of the German Leibniz Association.

Research and teaching in the domains of geography and planning at the University of Luxembourg take place in the Department of Geography and Spatial Planning, part of the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. Established in April 2006, the Department comprises a 45-person strong team, including professors, guest professors, junior and senior researchers, and doctoral students. Its research focusses on areas such as environmental economic geography, political geography, urban studies and planning, architecture, and geographical information systems (GIS).

The Department has also strong links to practice. It hosts the National Contact points for ESPON and the European Migration Net-work (EMN). It is the seat of the GR Atlas and partici-pates in the Faculty‘s Key Area of “Migration and In-clusive Society” and is ac-tive member of the Centre for Border Studies of the UniGR (the University of the Greater Region). In terms of teaching, it runs a Master in Geography & Spatial Planning, a Master in Border Studies, and a Master in Architecture. The Department also offers the certificate program “Formation Continue en Aménagement du Territoire”, that certifies future planners in Luxembourg. 

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 discussion, gain insight, and develop new research questions on the topics presented at the summer school. Participants will have the opportunity to present their research and receive individual feedback from international professors and experts. In addition, keynote speeches and plenary sessions offer the opportunity to intensify the debate and develop further research ideas. Field trips and shared social activities will help bring the topic of Smart Cities to life.

The summer school takes a critical and interdisciplinary approach to the study of Smart Cities. We invite applications from advanced doctoral students with a background in geography, urban and European studies, political sciences, sociology, spatial planning, public administration, social design, and related fields. We admit up to seven participants in a competitive application process. The ARL sponsors the accommodation and travel costs of all participants. A participation fee will not be charged. As academic institutions, the organizers encourage scientific publications and aim to compile an edited volume on the theme of the summer school. Participants should be willing and prepared to discuss their paper drafts during the summer school and to develop their papers afterwards.

Your application should include a motivation letter (max. 1 page), a short CV, and a short description of the project that you are going to present (max. 1 page). Please submit your application by 2 March 2020. Email applications are particularly welcome (compiled in one PDF file) to thimm@arl-net.de

Postal address: Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung (ARL) Insa Thimm Vahrenwalder Straße 247 30179 Hannover, Germany 

You will receive a notification of acceptance by the beginning of April 2020. 

For further questions, please contact Insa Thimm, thimm@arl-net.de, Phone +49 511 34842-31.

15 January, 2020

New publication in the Journal of Transport Geography addressing fare-free public transport in Luxembourg

As of March, 2020, public transit will be fare-free in Luxembourg. As the date approaches, more and more people are asking us questions, calling us for comment, whether they be students, colleagues from abroad, or the media. Indeed, there is a lot to watch here. 

For now, we are pleased to be able to offer you this article published online this week in the Journal of Transport Geography where we argue that there are good reasons to reconsider whether fare-free public transit is a good idea:

Mobility policy through the lens of policy mobility: The post-political case of introducing free transit in Luxembourg

by Constance Carr & Markus Hesse

This viewpoint paper addresses the issue of fare-free public transport (FFPT) in the context of policy mobility, the strand of urban studies literature that examines how policy formulations developed in one place tend to ‘travel’ and inform and inspire plans elsewhere as good or best practices. We argue that the promotion of policies may not reflect a serious attempt to solve a sustainability or socio-economic issue. Rather, the institutions in charge have different targets in mind. FFPT in Luxembourg is thus more a reflection of a post-political process where politics are severed from the political. 

Free copies available at Elsevier here until March 04, 2020.
Or, you may request a copy here.