Politische Soziologie sozialer Ungleichheit




Cities - smart and/or sustainable?

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Gill

Seminar BA MA LA

The last two hundred years have shown an ever increasing global trend towards urbanization on a worldwide level. And this trend is assumed to continue in the foreseeable future. In 1950, about 30% of the world population lived in cities. Today, it is 52% and – by 2050 – it will be 67% according to projections of the UN. For developed countries the UN projects an increase from currently 78% to 86% of urbanized population by 2050. Thus cities are and will be the main center of human development.

Two major questions of urban development are currently discussed in the public and in the scientific literature: the ecological sustainability and the electronic smartness of cities. The problems of urban pollution are old but remain relevant: waste, smog, noise and traffic jams. A newer theme is how cities can mitigate and adapt to climate change. These problems are seen by many planners and investors as new opportunities to engage digital infrastructure and artificial intelligence for smarter transport and communication, more resource efficient buildings infrastructures and household devices. At the same time, old and new questions of infrastructural security, social segregation and information privacy may arise from the propagated solutions.

The seminar will engage in all these problems and try to envision possible scenarios of tomorrow’s urban environments.

The course is addressed to students with a strong interest in socio-technical issues of environmental as well as digital developments. You will have to engage in interdisciplinary literature including references to engineering, natural sciences and maths. Please keep this in mind if you wish to attend this course.