20 July, 2023

Tracing Ukrainian tech-ecosystems at ICT Spring in Luxembourg

ICT Spring is a specialized exhibition held in Luxembourg that serves as a dynamic venue where start-ups can pitch their ideas to prospective investors. This event attracts tech enthusiasts eager to explore the latest trends and meet with influential figures sharing insights on innovative ICT developments.
It is arguably the most important event of the year in the field of ICT in Luxembourg. There, one can discover new start-ups, listen to panel discussions, and attend presentations by leading ICT experts. The exhibition covers diverse areas such as cybersecurity, data protection, digital infrastructure, fintech, cryptocurrencies, and the emerging metaverse, and cityverses as the future of smart cities. In terms of urban development specifically, one software company was developing a tool for monitoring air quality, and another for video surveillance in the garbage collection system. Global giants like Google, IBM, Microsoft, and PwC also showcased some of their newer innovations, while local Luxembourg companies like Luxinnovation and Luxconnect contributed to the ecosystem.  
Among the participants, Kryvets was particularly curious about the Ukrainian presence because these may lend clues to the make-up of the Ukrainian tech ecosystem which is diverse, fragmented, and dispersed all at once. The Ukrainian stand, organized by the Ukrainian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, showcased five start-ups. One presented a blockchain-based agro-marketplace for Ukrainian farmers that could potentially render the market more transparent. Another was a virtual job search platform to stem the brain drain from Ukraine and optimize processes of finding an employer. One developer proposed a tool for easier coding. Another aimed to ease the search and selection of lawyers in various fields in Ukraine and the EU, and still another focussed on tools and solutions to promote e-business, digital marketing and sales.
-- Kryvets, Carr, Nicotra

18 July, 2023

New Project: "Digital urban futures - Urban reconstruction efforts in the headquarter City of Kyiv and the role of emerging tech-ecosystems (RE-DIGICITY)"

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Olga Kryvets was awarded a Marie Curie grant from the MSCA4Ukraine Fellowship Scheme under the supervision of Constance Carr.

Project Description

RE-DIGICITY will examine the tech-ecosystem in the City of Kyiv, an East-European headquarter city subject to multiple urban reconstruction efforts in response to authoritarian aggression. RE-DIGICITY aims to understand and explain how tech enterprises both big and small shape reconstruction efforts and contribute to multiple digital urban futures.

RE-DIGICITY is an extension to work (KYIV-DIGIURB) commenced at DGEO, exploring how large digital corporations such as Amazon or Google were involved in reconstruction and resilience in Kyiv. This work built on Carr’s (2021) project, entitled “Digital Urban Development - How large digital corporations shape the field of urban governance (DIGI-GOV).” Funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund, DIGI-GOV examines the role of large digital corporations in digital urban development in Toronto, Seattle, Washington DC, Luxembourg and Amsterdam (Carr/Hesse 2020, 2022; Bast/Carr/Madron/Syrus 2022; Carr/Bast/Madron/Syrus 2022). RE-DIGICITY expands the horizon to include Microsoft and Samsung as well as smaller enterprises, which together constitute an emerging tech-ecosystem in Kyiv. RE-DIGICITY thus offers fresh insight into processes of urban digitalization (Ash/Kitchin/Leszcznski 2016; Karvonen/Cook/Harstaad 2020) looking at how tech-ecosystems affect digital urban futures in an East-European headquarter city (Gnatiuk/Kryvets 2018; Mykhnenko 2020) undergoing post-disaster reconstruction. RE-DIGICITY is thus a chance to call attention to the ways that contemporary digital cities are (re)constructed and (re)planned. 
Reconstruction and Digital Futures
The invasion, “caused an avalanche of civilian casualties and a large-scale destruction of civilian infrastructure, while Ukraine’s forced displacement and humanitarian needs continue to grow exponentially” (Mykhnenko/Delahaye/Mehdi 2022: 714). Despite ongoing destruction, in June 2022, the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine (MTOTU) (2022) approved the ‘Transition Period Policy’ to begin reconstruction. Around this time too, Amazon, Google and Microsoft were awarded for their efforts in reinforcing Ukraine’s digital infrastructures/services (Nolan 2022). From pie-in-the-sky dreams of Eurovision 2023 in Mariupol, to dreams of modernized urban infrastructures/services (Hay et al. 2022), to immediate needs of clean water, medical supplies, and critical infrastructure (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) 2022), reconstruction in Ukraine was operating at various temporal and spatial scales, through a multitude of narratives responding to different imaginaries. Just as Paidakaki/Moulaert (2017) viewed resilience as granular, so too was the character of reconstruction and the multitude of coeval resilience agendas in Ukraine. It was “a highly political, continuously changing, socially transformative process,” (ibid. 2017: 4). RE-DIGIGOV explores these in relation to coeval efforts at urban digitalization.

An Eastern Headquarter City
Kyiv, the capital city and most economically prosperous area of Ukraine (Mykhnenko 2020), is recognized as Ukraine’s corporate centre, home to older oil, coal and steel production firms, and since the 1990s, home to more and more firms in finance. Recently, a number of international IT firms have also settled, solidifying new economic sectors and growth in the City and country—which, further, are components of wider processes of neoliberalization in the post-socialist, post-industrial city (Gnatiuk/Kryvets 2018; Gnatiuk/Melnychuk 2022; Havryliuk/Gnatiuk/Mezentsev 2021).Today, Kyiv’s IT sector has a broad inventory, and these tech-ecosystems signify the strengthening of new business sectors in a post-socialist, neoliberal economy, and the delivery of a new digital urbanism in Kyiv, a ‘relational’ (Wong/Hesse/Sigler 2022) headquarter city. 

Research Questions
RE-DIGICITY addresses research questions operationalized across three domains: i. reconstruction and digital urban futures; ii. relational headquarter cities; iii) tech-ecosystems in conditions of authoritarian aggression.

RE-DIGICITY’s methodological approach inspired by the processuality of urbanization (Carr/Hesse 2020), ‘interpretative institutionalism’ (Bevir/Rhodes 2006), and urban relationality (Wong/Hesse/Sigler 2022). First, understanding the complexities of urban tech-ecosystems in the context of urban reconstruction requires an examination of the processuality of urbanization. This approach has roots in urban political ecology and focusses on social productive processes because “‘the urban’ is a complex, multiscale and multidimensional process where the general and specific aspects of the human condition meet,” (Keil 2003, 725). Further, a qualitative approach respecting processes uncovers the “thick and rich description of the discourses” (Kenis 2019, 836).

Second, a qualitative approach can assess how institutions are shaped, emphasizing the rationale, background conditions, and justifications that inform decision-making processes, to explain why people/institutions behave as they do. The interpretive institutionalism approach developed by Bevir and Rhodes (2006) provides such tools to generate insight.

Third, by examining Kyiv as a headquarter city, RE-DIGICITY draws on the relational approach rooted in scholarly debates about urban comparison that expose how cities are interconnected and constitute one another (Robinson 2011). In this approach, urban spaces are not bounded territories, but conduits of connection and productive processes that reach and extend beyond specific territories (Uitermark et al. 2012). In this vein, RE-DIGICITY is inspired by Wong et al. (2022) who argued that a city’s positionality in international flows, “is derived from mediating between regionally and globally scaled processes” (Wong/Hesse/Siger 2022: 502): Kyiv’s headquarter strategy can also be conceived of as a “niche center of corporate domiciling” (ibid.: 503).

The conceptual approach translates into a rigorous survey of secondary sources, including media reports, government documentation, videos documentation, and more. The goal is to obtain an overview of the scope and volume of the discourse.  Narratives drawn from follow-up interviews can then be triangulated against the written discourse, to achieve a deeper understanding of discourses, conflicts, and positions. 

Ash, J./Kitchin, R./Leszcznski, M. 2016. Digital turn, digital geographies? Progress in Human Geography, 42:1,25- 43.

Bast, D./Carr, C./Madron, K./Syrus, AM. 2022. Four reasons why data centers matter, five implications of their social spatial distribution, one graphic to visualize them. Environment and Planning A, https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X211069139

Bevir, M./Rhodes, R. 2006. Governance Stories. London: Routledge.

Carr, C. 2021. DIGI-GOV Project Summary. https://orbilu.uni.lu/bitstream/10993/45932/1/DIGI-GOV%20Brochure%20January%202021.pdf

Carr, C./Bast, D./Madron, K./Syrus, AM. 2022. Mapping the clouds: The matter of data centers. Journal of Maps

Carr, C./Hesse, M. 2020. When Alphabet Inc. Plans Toronto’s Waterfront: New Post-Political Modes of Urban Governance, Urban Planning, 5:1,69-83.

---- 2022. Technocratic Urban Development: Large Digital Corporations as Power Brokers of the Digital Age. Planning Theory & Practice, https://doi.org/10.1080/14649357.2022.2043717

Gnatiuk, O./Kryvets, O. 2018. Post-Soviet residential neighbourhoods in two second-order Ukrainian cities: Factors and models of spatial transformation. Geographica Pannonica, 22:2,104-120.

Gnatiuk, O./Melnychuk, A. 2022. Housing names to suit every taste: neoliberal place-making and toponymic commodification in Kyiv, Ukraine. Eurasian Geography and Economics, DOI: 10.1080/15387216.2022.2112250

Hay, A./Karney, H./Martyn, B.N. 2022. Reconstructing infrastructure for resilient essential services during and following protracted conflict: A conceptual framework. International Review of the Red Cross.

Havryliuk, O.,/Gnatiuk, O.,/Mezentsev/K. 2021. Suburbanization, but centralization? Migration patterns in the post-Soviet functional urban region – evidence from Kyiv. Folia Geographica, 63:1,64-84

Hesse, M. 2022. Project Description FINCITY. https://orbilu.uni.lu/bitstream/10993/50569/1/Excerpt%20from%20FINCITY%20Project%20Description.pdf

Karvonen, A./Cook, M./Harstaad, H. 2020. Urban Planning and the Smart City: Projects, Practices and Politics. Urban Planning, 5:1,65-68.

Keil, R. 2003. Progress report: Urban political ecology. Urban Geography, 24:8,723–738.

Kenis, A. 2019. Post-politics contested: Why multiple voices on climate change do not equal politicisation. Environment and Planning C, 37:5,831–848.

MTOTU 2022. State policy of the transitional period. https://minre.gov.ua/project/derzhavna-polityka-perehidnogo-periodu

Mykhnenko, V. 2020. Causes and consequences of the war in eastern Ukraine: An economic geography perspective. Europe-Asia Studies, 72:3,528-560.

Mykhnenko, V./Delahaye, E./Mehdi, N. 2022. Understanding forced internal displacement in Ukraine: insights and lessons for today’s crises. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 38:3,699–716.

Nolan, B 2022. Zelenskyy awards Amazon the Ukraine peace prize after AWS helped save its ‘digital infrastructure’. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/zelenskyy-amazon-ukraine-peace-prize-digital-war-support-aws-2022-7?r=US&IR=T

Paidakaki A./Moulaert F 2017. Does the post-disaster resilient city really exist? International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 8:3,275–291.

Robinson, J. 2011. Cities in a world of cities: The comparative gesture. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35:1,1952.

Uitermark, J,/Nicholls, W./Loopmans, M. 2012. Cities and social movements: Theorizing beyond the right to the city. Environment and Planning A, 44:11,2546–2554.

UNOCHA2022. Situation Report. https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ukraine/

Wong, C./Hesse, M./Sigler, T. 2022. City-states in relational urbanization: the case of Luxembourg and Singapore, Urban Geography, 43:4,501-522.

05 July, 2023

PhD-Candidate in Geography / Spatial Planning---There are 10 days left to apply

The University of Luxembourg is an international research university with a distinctly multilingual and interdisciplinary character. The University was founded in 2003 and counts more than 6,700 students and more than 2,000 employees from around the world. The University’s faculties and interdisciplinary centres focus on research in the areas of Computer Science and ICT Security, Materials Science, European and International Law, Finance and Financial Innovation, Education, Contemporary and Digital History. In addition, the University focuses on cross-disciplinary research in the areas of Data Modelling and Simulation as well as Health and System Biomedicine. 
The Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education (FHSE) brings together expertise from the humanities, linguistics, cognitive sciences, social and educational sciences. People from across 20 disciplines are working within the Faculty. Along with the disciplinary approach a very ambitious interdisciplinary research culture has been developed. The faculty’s research and teaching focuses on social, economic, political and educational issues with the common goal of contributing to an inclusive, open and resourceful society. The FHSE offers six Bachelor and twenty Master degrees and a doctoral school providing students with the necessary knowledge and high-qualified skills to succeed in their future career.

Your role: 

Prepare a doctoral thesis in geography and/or planning, within the context of global urban studies, as we explored it through our past research project GLOBAL and the ongoing FINCITY research. In this context, it is our particular interest to find out what being small-but-global means for development and planning. While the above projects were focussing on urban and metropolitan governance more generally (GLOBAL), and commercial real-estate markets in particular (FINCITY), we propose to study further fields of application. These could be, for example, the science-policy interface in geography and planning (aka transfer), or the notion of flows (logistics) and how it collides with the configuration of places. Apart from that, we are also interested in learning about candidates’ own proposals, as far as these are situated in the above broader context.
Assist in teaching activities, limited to a range of one to three hours per week.
Contribute to tutoring Master students.


Master or Diploma in Geography or Spatial Planning/Urban Planning; Master or Diploma in Political Science, History or other Humanities/Social Sciences linked to geographical issues. Strong interest in urban development, policy and planning. Interest in interdisciplinary work and a reflective methodology. Excellent command of written and spoken English. (Knowledge of either French or German is an advantage).

In short:

Contract Type: Fixed Term Contract 36 Months 
Work Hours: Full Time 40.0 Hours per Week
Location: Belval
Internal Title: Doctoral Researcher
Job Reference: UOL05805

How to apply:

Applications (in English) should contain the following documents: A detailed curriculum vitae; Copies of Master Diploma; Motivation Letter; Support letter from at least one recent scientific advisor/professor; A PhD proposal (min 2,000, max 2,500 words excluding bibliography) using the following format: Introduction and literature review Research objectives and expected contribution to the field Innovation/originality Methodology (including intended dataset to be used if empirical analysis) Work plan and expected timetable Bibliography.

Candidates should apply by 15th July 2023. Please apply HERE through the HR system. Applications by email will not be considered. The University of Luxembourg embraces inclusion and diversity as key values. We are fully committed to removing any discriminatory barrier related to gender, and not only, in recruitment and career progression of our staff.

Here's what awaits you at the University:

Multilingual and international character. Modern institution with a personal atmosphere. Staff coming from 90 countries. Member of the “University of the Greater Region” (UniGR). A modern and dynamic university. High-quality equipment. Close ties to the business world and to the Luxembourg labour market. Cooperation with European institutions, innovative companies, the Financial Centre and with numerous non-academic partners such as ministries, local governments, associations, NGOs …

03 July, 2023

We are delighted to welcome Prof. Rob Kitchin to the MSH in Belval, July 6 2023, 10:00-10:45 am

DGEO in co-operation with the ARL is delighted to welcome Prof. Rob Kitchin of Maynooth University will deliver a public talk on "Exploring Digital Space-Time" for the opening of the ARL International Summer School, July 6, 2023, 10:00-10:45 am

Abstract - Digital technologies are having a profound effect on the temporalities and spatialities of individuals, households and organizations. For example, we now expect to be able to source instantly a vast array of information at any time and from anywhere, as well as to buy goods with the click of a button and have them delivered within hours, while time management apps and locative media have altered how everyday scheduling and mobility unfold. The presentation will examine the relationship between time and space in the digital age, examining the production digital timescapes. It will illustrate the argument by charting the timescapes of smart cities

The Summer School introductory keynote is open for remote attendances via the Webex platform. 

  • Listen in at: https://tinyurl.com/4mjvkxvj 
  • Webex number: 2731 796 4397
  • Webex password: ARL2023
  • Webex host: Constance Carr (contact: constance.carr@uni.lu)
  • Link will open at 9:50 am

Those in Luxembourg are also invited to join in the Black Box, MSH, Belval Campus, July 6, 10:00-10:45 am.  Because space is limited, please RSVP to constance.carr@uni.lu by midnight on Tuesday, July 4th so that we can accommodate appropriately.

Digital technologies are having a profound effect on the temporalities and spatialities of individuals, households and organizations. For example, we now expect to be able to source instantly a vast array of information at any time and from anywhere, as well as to buy goods with the click of a button and have them delivered within hours, while time management apps and locative media have altered how everyday scheduling and mobility unfold. The presentation will examine the relationship between time and space in the digital age, examining the production digital timescapes. It will illustrate the argument by charting the timescapes of smart cities.