Open City: Offene Stadt – Theorien – Perspektiven – Instrumente

by slutty urbanism


The OPEN CITY FORUM is part of “OFFENE STADT: Theorien, Perspektiven, Instrumente” – a joint inter- and transdisciplinary research project by TU Braunschweig, TU Dortmund and the German Institute of Urban Affairs in cooperation with the Senate of the City of Berlin and supported by a renowned advisory board. The project is funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation. Openness is at the center of current societal debates when issues of belonging, security and resource distribution are being negotiated. In the light of insecurity and uncertainty regarding future developments, current societal debates point towards new lines of conflict regarding «openness» and «closure» within urban areas. Openness has interlinked dimensions: the physical openness of space, institutional openness, the openness of social, economic and ecological systems, and responsiveness to future change.
The open city is a challenging concept and an opportunity. The exploration of such new perspectives and approaches
considering openness in urban development is crucial as the speed of societal changes, urban growth and deteriorating environmental conditions increases. Can the concept of openness provide designers, planners, decision makers and citizens new strategies to counter multiple uncertainties in the process of urban development, without irrevocably obstructing future possibilities?


The concept of the ‘slutty’ responds to the growing gap between ethical commitments that digital platforms should take, and the harsh forms of extraction and cultures of violence and indifference taking place in urban space around the world. SU opens up careless academia that is utterly incapable to deal with the current acceleration. This blog is a response to the primitive digital urban revolution under way. The aim is to address entrepreneurial enclosures, legalistic bureaucracies and cleansed heritage ghettos, our answer should be no longer a constructive one: our counter strategies might be offensive and promiscuous.
SU maps the untidy nexus of urban space abuse, opening up digital networks in order to insert subversive politics.
We play with the sanitized literature that deals with digital platforms and urbanism, on the one hand, and the belief system of openness, on the other hand. Indeed, what is ‘open’? Open needs a door to be closed, welcoming some and making it harder to enter for others. Open demands a timetable arranging the lifestyles and temporalities of accessibility. In The ‘openness’ is an exclusionary privilege that is promoted by commercial digital platforms. Therefore, SU deals with the interrelation between urban platforms, networks, and politics. The manifesto argues for the political (re)turn in geography to (re)focus the political as a central anchor in urban debates. The emerging digital turn calls attention to the way that urban space is digitally mediated, hence urges urban scholars to reconfigure understandings of digitally-mediated cities and the complex ways that the digital urbanism is produced by and through social, political and technological processes. We make an end to ambiguous urban regimes. That’s why they are slutty, they can play several roles, like enlighten policy makers, agents of transformation, sense makers through platforms. Schluss with the naïve apolitical labels such as smart city! Unlike them, we are the ethical sluts, and we are polluting PR policy campaigns such as the Amsterdam WeMakeCity festival. We shall speak to power and do the slut-shaming with the aim to promote a new ethical production and consumption of the digital urbanism-under- construction.