Catalysing Cross-scales: Emergent Urbanism and Smart Nodes

Annuska Rantanen: Tampere University of Technology, Finland

Ari Hynynen: Tampere University of Technology, Finland


KEYWORDS: Emergent Urbanism, Smart Nodes, Hybridity

Many scholars have called for more human-oriented interpretations of smartness. Therefore, smartness can refer to, for example, digital empowering tools for urban commoning, as well as to innovation nodes, platforms and networks of new economy. Or more generally, it may refer to urban self-organization, adaptation and exaptation, concepts highlighting bottom up emergent patterns, which catalyse urban transformation. We call this emergent urbanism.

Emergence refers to the rise of qualitatively new system properties, behaviour and patterns, from interactions between actors/agents without an external control mechanism. New bonds are developed between urban actors, between social, material, ecological and institutional domains, meaning mutually beneficial interaction. This leads to new regimes represented in differentiating cultures of civic engagement, hybridity of evolving agencies, emerging of new urban qualities and novel cultures of planning. Emergent urbanism covers diverse initiatives from production of space and services to nurturing urban commons in everyday surroundings, helping make cities more inclusive, resource-wise and resilient.

How do civic initiatives rise and scale to larger ecosystems, and how can they be supported by authorities and spatial planning? We invite scholars, actors and innovators to disseminate their knowledge and experiences on the ‘new smart turn’, which builds on civic engagement and new forms of co-governance mediated by digital tools. We are interested in various dimensions of smartness and how they emerge in space, time and governance practices. You may focus on some of the following themes:

  • systemic transition and practices (new economies, P2P, DIY, innovation platforms, commoning, sharing economy).

  • concepts of emergent urbanism (innovation, adaptation, self-organisation, co-evolution, empowerment, co-creation)

  • spatial manifestations: new nodes of urbanity; resilient heritage and ecologic memory; typological process and mobility in the algorithmic age; multi-functional infrastructures


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