MEDIAPOLIS Dossier: Caring Cities

Linda Kopitz's picture
Call for Papers
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Film and Film History, Humanities

Edited by Linda Kopitz (University of Amsterdam) and Pei-Sze Chow (University of Amsterdam)

“The world will look different if we move care from its current peripheral location 
to a place near the center of human life” (Tronto 1993)

This dossier takes as its starting point the notion of care as “our individual and common ability to provide the political, social, material and emotional conditions” (Care Collective 2020) for a more sustainable, connected and caring world. We are interested in exploring care as something that can be ‘designed’ – and situated in design. ‘Smart’ cities, ‘connected’ cities, ‘sustainable’ cities, ‘cognitive’ cities  – these approaches to urban imaginations are deeply entangled with ideas and promises of technology that will serve to care for human and non-human inhabitants and the world at large, to improve our individual and collective well-being and to offer answers to the challenges of climate change. Such ideologies seek to position the human at the center of the design process, while simultaneously emphasizing technological innovation as essential means to achieve ‘care’. Big data, artificial intelligence, software solutions, digital twins, and other such digital tools are drawn on in both utopian and dystopian imaginations of urban futures. From current architectural projects like Saudi Arabia’s The Line in NEOM and South Korea’s Eco Delta Smart Village to contemporary science fiction films like Tiong Bahru Social Club (2020), questions of sustainability, technology and care become almost indistinguishable from each other. If we understand “architecture as a condition for care” (Krasny 2019), exploring how caring cities are represented, designed and (ultimately) built points us to the complex connections between imagination and practice.

Some of the questions we are interested in:

# How does care become material in the imagination and construction of cities?

# How can (audio)visual representations not just construct, but also critique urban imaginaries?

# How do contemporary urban imaginaries connect to historical ideas of care and caring spaces?

# Can cities be ‘smart’ without technology?

# In what ways does caring for infrastructures lead to more (or less) caring spaces?

# How can we critique the neoliberal capitalist undercurrents that drive these design processes and imaginations?

# What are the ethics and impacts of designing happiness and well-being into urban communities via digital approaches? Is ‘care’ always ‘connected’?

# How can we approach care as both a concept and a method?

We invite contributions from diverse fields, including, but not limited to, urban studies, film/television studies, sociology, geography, gender studies, political studies, philosophy, new media theory, disconnection studies, history, and so on. We are especially interested in contributions exploring ‘Caring Cities’ from a global and interdisciplinary perspective including artistic research and architectural practice.

Please submit an abstract of your proposed article (300 words) and a short bio (100 words) to Linda Kopitz ( and Pei-Sze Chow ( by 15 January 2023. Authors will be informed of the selection within two weeks after the deadline. Full articles (3000-4000 words) will be due in April 2023 and will subsequently go through an anonymous peer review process. The dossier is scheduled for the May/June 2023 issue.

Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture is an interdisciplinary online journal of media and urban culture. We publish research across multiple academic fields — including, but not limited to, media studies, urban studies, geography, film, architecture, art history, visual culture, digital humanities, sound, and music.


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