Teaching a new course in minor “Creative Cities” (English) 2014-2015

Next academic year 2014-2015 I will teach a new course in the Utrecht University minor “Creative Cities” (in English), together with my colleagues Sigrid Merx, Eugene van Erven and Peter Selten. My course is called “Creative urban technologies: exploring and navigating the smart and social city“. Download the Minor Creative Cities brochure concept (pdf) for an overview of this minor.

The minor Creative Cities caters to students interested in emerging artistic practices, subcultures and new media and how these phenomena relate to creative dynamics in society. Investigating cities, urban citizenship and the multidimensional dynamics between them obviously suggests an interdisciplinary academic approach while simultaneously offering endless possibilities for exploring connections between theory and practice. All four courses literally open the door to the urban world immediately beyond the university classroom and provide students with theoretical concepts, practical tools, and creative space to explore it.

Subjects in this minor

The Creative Cities minor is inspired by the growing belief that the creative, economically viable city of the future will only thrive if it is truly integrated and its citizens turn from passive consumers into active participants who take responsibility for each other and their surroundings. All kinds of cultural practices can influence this process of bottom-up city building. Thus, the different courses in this minor offer opportunities to critically study new digital media technologies and their playful application, the changing role of young people in urban society, formal and informal cultural interventions in public space, and cutting edge participatory arts in lower income areas (community arts).

This is my course:

1. Creative urban technologies: exploring and navigating the smart and social city
[Period 1, Level 2, Michiel de Lange]

course aims
This course aims to introduce students to the burgeoning cross-disciplinary field that studies the relationships between digital (mobile) media technologies and today’s cities. Students investigate and develop insights into how these technologies shape the city through novel interfaces and playful affordances. Students should be able to read literature in the field thoroughly and critically, frame theoretical discussions in the field and develop new ways of conceptualizing the aforementioned issues.

Meet Your Stranger - Sander Veenhof
Meet Your Stranger – Sander Veenhof

course description
The course discusses current developments in the creative industry like urban games, urban screens, augmented reality. These so-called urban new media shape contemporary public space, open up the city to new playful experiences, allow new roles for its citizens and visitors, create new forms of urban agency, and invite alternative ways of navigating the city.

As part of the minor Creative Cities the course explores the entanglements between ICTs and the creative city by focussing on the following weekly themes:

Introduction: Addressing complex urban problems with digital technologies in today’s smart and social cities.

Spaces: Exploring the relation between digital technologies and the city’s creative clusters.

Citizenship: Leveraging the creative potential of cities through participatory culture, co-creation, mobile apps and open data.

Media art: Criticizing the smart city with locative media, digital art and urban screens.

– Interfaces and code: Navigating the city with location-based technologies and interactive cartography.

Play and games: Reprogramming the city with urban games and play.

Identities: Creating urban subjectivities through quantified self, life-logging and mobile story-telling.


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