Is the Smart City losing traction – and what may come next?

Wednesday 6 December 09:00 - Thursday 7 December 16:00,
Radisson Blu Atlantic.

Register for our final symposium.

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Illustrasjon av storby med ikoner som viser ulike teknologier

Since 2019, the Research Network for Smart Sustainable Cities has conducted interdisciplinary research and collaborated with a broad range of regional, national and international partners to further our knowledge and understanding of smart and sustainable urban development. We will host a final research symposium on December 6-7, where we will present the results of our research and innovation activities. We are also excited to have a range of exciting keynotes from leading international researchers who will provide their take on smart cities – and what will come next.


Wednesday December 6 
 Room Kannik/Sølvberg/Valberget Room Kjellandsalen 
08:30 – 09:00 Registration 
09:00 – 09:30 Welcome  
09:30 – 11:30 Keynote Panel 1  
11:30 – 12:30 Lunch 
12:30 – 14:00 Session A-1 Upscaling energy flexibility as communities Session A-2 Beyond Smart Mobility 
14:00 – 14:30 Coffee Break 
14:30 – 16:00 Session B-1 Wireless communication for smart cities Session B-2 Democracy and Inclusion 
17:00 – 19:00 Reception at Innoasis, Sverdrupsgate 27, 4007 Stavanger 
  Thursday December 7 
 Room Kannik/Sølvberg/Valberget Room Atlantic Hall 
08:30 – 09:00 Registration 
09:00 – 10:30 Session C-1 Nature based solutions and green infrastructures Session C-2 Justice in the Smart City 
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee Break 
11:00 – 12:30 Session D-1 Data and Datafication in Smart Cities Session D-2 Collaborative innovation and experimentation towards sustainability transitions 
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch 
13:30 – 15:30 Keynote panel 2  

Keynote panelists

Ugo Rossi

Professor of Economic and Political Geography, Gran Sasso Science Institute

Portrett av Ugo Rossi

Dr. Rossi’s research focuses on urban and regional development from a perspective of critical and radical human geography. He is interested in technology-driven urban economies and their societal governance, having conducted field research in recent years on smart-city strategies, start-up urbanism, platform labour, and tourism-driven urban revival. His research also engages with progressive experiments in local politics, particularly from the perspective of the urban commons and new municipalism. At the regional level, his work prioritises the standpoint of the 'southern question', looking at the ways in which the peripherality, marginalisation and abandonment of the southern regions of Italy and Europe are costantly reproduced over time.

Gökçe Günel

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rice University

Portrett av Gökçe Günel

Dr. Günel’s research focuses on how urban environments transform in the face of energy and climate change-related challenges. Her latest book “Spaceship in the Desert: Energy, Climate Change and Urban Design in Abu Dhabi” (Duke University Press, 2019) focuses on the construction of renewable energy and clean technology infrastructures in the United Arab Emirates, concentrating on the Masdar City project. Currently, she is at work on a second book provisionally titled “Energy Accumulation.” This book seeks to criticize the unilinear logics of the energy transition narrative by studying the emergence of a Turkish-built floating power plant in Ghana.

Ramon Ribera Fumaz

Professor of Economic and Urban Geography, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Open University of Catalonia

Portrett av Ramon Ribera Fumaz

Dr. Ribera Fumaz is the group líder of the Urban Transformation and Global Change Laboratory (TURBA) at the university's Internet Interdisciplinary Institute. His research explores the urban geographies of capitalism from an interdisciplinary perspective, particularly focusing on the spatial, technological and environmental dimensions of uneven development. His current interests focus on the political geographies of global urbanism, particularly the political economy of digital urbanism.

Constance Carr

Senior Research Scientist of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Luxembourg

Portrett av Constance Carr

Dr. Carr’s work has focussed on urban sustainable development practices, focussing on such issues as: planning contradictions in urban regions under growth pressure; emerging suburban or post-suburban spaces and the respective dilemmas therein; governance structures in small states; dilemmas in infrastructure provision (housing vs transport); and the degree to which urban sustainability endorses social exclusion. Currently,Dr. Carr is immersed into two projects that address contemporary urban problems underpinned by post-political, market-led development, and the condition that cities are increasingly corporatized.

Maja de Neergaard

Associate Professor, Mobility, Space, Place and Urban Studies, Roskilde University

Portrett av Maja de Neergaard

Dr. de Neergaard’s current research explore smart cities and smart housing environments. The notion ‘smart’ has gained tremendous interest, and impact, during the past 15 years. It concerns the increased attention to use digital technologies and large datasets to automate much of our built environments and infrastructural systems. Often for the sake of creating more sustainable cities and living environments. Her research is concerned with how smart, or automation, meets cities and housing environments. What transformations take place? Do the promises hold? What are the struggles and challenges?

Casey Lynch

Assistant Professor, Geography, University of Twente

Portrett av Casey Lynch

Dr. Lynch is a digital, urban and political geographer. His work examines how processes of digitalization are materialized, territorialized, experienced, and potentially contested in cities. I aim to critique dominant processes of digitalization—in particular those based on surveillance, extraction, and corporate control—while also exploring alternative approaches oriented around social and economic justice and sustainability.

Parallel sessions

Twin transitions of digitalisation and decarbonisation through electrification need energy flexibility solutions. And to meet the sheer urgency and quantum of energy transition needs, energy flexibility solutions need rapid upscaling. What if the answer to this challenge lies in communities, and if the answer can even help fix the longstanding inequities rampant in society? For some, that's a terrifying thought. For others, a utopia. For us, it is a topic worth discussing, based on years of work with research projects to collaborate internationally on these themes! 


  • Mathias Lindkvist, postdoc, RESCHOOL, University of Stavanger 
  • Kristjana Shkembi, ENERTOWN, University of Stavanger 
  • Maja de Neergaard, Roskilde University 

Moderator: Siddharth Sareen University of Stavanger/University of Bergen 

What does the smart city concept mean for urban mobility? And to what degree do smart mobility initiatives overlap with other prevailing objectives in sustainable urban mobility planning, such as transit-oriented development, accessibility, reduced car dependency, improved public and soft travel, travel behaviour change, improved public health, active aging, justice, and quality of life and travel? 

The panel represents research topics extending mobility beyond the aim of moving people around with innovative transport technology but rather a means of access. It addresses topics such as climate neutrality and environmental impact, health perspectives, and mobility justice of access, and equality of accessibility. We will discuss the potential and effectiveness of different measures that aim at more sustainable urban mobility, underlying motivations and barriers, as well as how to move the mobility paradigm from transport to accessibility. 

Panel presentations: 

  • ‘What implications does the smart city paradigm have for urban mobility?’ Morten Ryen Loe, University of Stavanger 
  • ‘The role and potential of cycling for sustainable mobility in Nord-Jæren.’ Ray Pritchard, NORCE 
  • ‘How can health be a motivator for change in commute travel?’ Ayda Jouvadi, University of Stavanger 
  • ‘The role of new mobilities and technology among young elderly urban travellers.’ Daniela Müller-Eie, University of Stavanger. 

Moderator: Daniela Müller-Eie, University of Stavanger 

 Wireless technology is crucial in developing and implementing innovative city initiatives, from autonomous vehicles, intelligent buildings, and public safety to traffic management. This panel discusses the technology revolution and the implementation challenges of transforming smart cities in practice. Lastly, we discuss upcoming use cases that can be implemented in the future smart city. 

Panel Presentations 

  • ‘Wireless Technology Revolution for Smart City: the promises and the pitfalls’ Annisa Sarah, 5G-MODaNeI project, University of Stavanger 
  • ‘Wireless Communications for Tunnel Safety’, Aitor Martin Rodriguez, Kapasitetsløft Tunnelsikkerhet (KATS) Project, University of Stavanger 
  • ‘Public Networks to Serve Smart City initiatives’, Tore Kristoffersen, Project lead Private 5G, Lyse AS/Ice Communications 

Moderator: Steinar Meiling, Nordic Edge

Smart city projects have in recent years experienced a turn to participatory methods in order to make these projects more democratic and inclusive. This is also the case in Stavanger. What are some of the experiences with participation, what have we learned and where should we focus in the future? 

Panel Presentations: 

  • ‘Energy justice and democracy as an abductive inquiry.’ Kristiane Lindland, University of Stavanger 
  • ‘Participation and transformation in urban contexts.’ Thomas Macintyre, University of Stavanger  
  • ‘Children’s participation in smart city planning.’ Johana Montalvan Castilla, University of Stavanger 

Moderator: Ramon Ribera Fumaz, Open University of Catalonia 

More than US$ 50 trillion has been invested globally in new urban infrastructures (buildings, green spaces, roads, drainage systems) by 2030. However, how such infrastructures can contribute to climate adaptation and mitigation is still uncertain. Urban infrastructures sometimes contribute to environmental degradation in cities, including air pollution, flooding, and water contamination. Therefore, over the past few years, Nature-based Solutions (NBS) have been adopted as an effective approach to protecting, managing, and restoring city ecosystems. NBS aim to imitate nature in building the cities. NBS can provide over one-third of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed between now and 2030 to stabilize warming below 2°C, achieving nature’s mitigation potential of 10-12 gigatons of CO2 per year. 

Panel Presentations: 

  • ‘Interlinking the silos: How to stimulate a new debate on more greenery in cities.’ Mina Di Marino, NMBU. 
  • ‘Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions as Pillars of BioCities.’ Hans Martin Hanslin, NIBIO 
  • ‘Multifunctional green infrastructures: The critical aspect for making sustainable and liveable cities.’ Maria Korkou, NINA and University of Stavanger. 
  • ‘Bringing NBS knowledge to the future engineers: The experience of the BUILD project.’ Ari Tarigan, University of Stavanger: 

Moderator: Ari Tarigan, University of Stavanger

In recent years the right to the smart city has become a popular conceptual and political term extending Henri Lebfevre’s famous concept of the Right to the City into the digital age. The right to the city is an explicit call for the just city, but what does justice mean in the context of Stavanger?  

Panel Presentations: 

  • ‘Towards analytical framework for studying complex spatial justice issues.’ Jens Kaae Fisker, University of Stavanger. 
  • ‘Are smart cities just cities? The contribution and prospects of social innovation.’ Eleni Damopoulou, University of Stavanger 
  • ‘Viewing the smart city through a Mobility Justice lens.’ Morten Ryen Loe, University of Stavanger 

Moderator: Maja de Neergaard, Roskilde University 

Datafication is the process of converting various aspects of life into digital data for analysis and informed decision-making. The drive towards datafication is rooted in a belief in the capacity of data to represent social life, sometimes better or more objectively than pre-digital (human) interpretations. Yet, in the context of cities many of the problems persist to exist. What is the promise and limits to datafication. What kind of data do we need or is it data we need? And what about the ethical aspects? 

Panel Presentations: 

  • ‘Ways to improve city planning guidelines and regulations using data-based analytical tools.’ Todor Kesarovski & Fabio Alberto Hernandez, University of Stavanger 
  • ‘The grand technological promise and ethical dilemmas in Norwegian child welfare services: social workers’ experiences and expectations’ Hulda Mjøll Gunnarsdottir, University of Stavanger 
  • ‘Data quality assessment in smart cities datafication.’ Carl Chineme Okafor, University of Stavanger 

Moderator: Casey Lynch, University of Twente

The panel session will explore the importance of collaboration, innovation, and experimentation in driving sustainability transitions through the role of regional actors. It will highlight the potential of collaborative approaches and novel ideas to address sustainability challenges and foster a transformative change in a regional context. 

Panel Speakers 

  • ‘Evaluation of urban climate change experiments.’ Veronika Budovska Lorentzen: 
  • ‘Does geography matter for a collaborative eco-innovation?’ Xiangyu Quan, University of Stavanger 
  • ‘Green start-ups and incumbent firms: Collaborating for sustainability.’ Andra Riandita, University of Stavanger 

Moderator: Anders Riel Müller, University of Stavanger

See detailed programme here.