The Right to the City in the Digital Age

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a conference


2010 saw the apex of a second ‘urban revolution’. Finally, more than 50% of the world’s population live in urban environments. The first urban revolution began approx. 7,000 years ago. Agricultural villages developed into socially, economically, and politically complex urban societies (Childe, 1950). At the same time, societies have experienced another, technical revolution: since the 1990s the world has operated in what Manuel Castells (1996; 1997; 1998) calls the ‘network society’. Using Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), especially personal computers and mobile phones, we now communicate instantly across the globe and in real time. Almost all of us now live in the ‘Digital Age’. The combination of these urban and digital revolutions is having significant impact on the function and evolution of societies, and urban environments particular. We can think here of the duties and prerogatives of urban dwellers, the values embedded in physical and online public spaces, and the participation of citizens in the creation of urban futures. This roundtable intends to explore the different ways in which societies are reacting and adapting to these revolutionary changes in both Asia and the West. It brings together scholars whose previous research has explored society and technology and made useful comparisons between East and West. This roundtable is a first public exploration of issues that are going to be addressed further in a conference (to be held in 2022) which will hopefully lead to the publication of a book comparing and contrasting different approaches to and challenges of citizenship in the Digital Age. The book is planned as the third and final instalment of a trilogy exploring citizenship and the care of the self in both Asia and the West (based on the concept developed by Michel Foucault (1984)). The first book in this trilogy was ‘Ancient and Modern Practices of Citizenship in Asia and the West’ (2019), and the second, ‘Contemporary Practices of Citizenship in Asia and the West’ (2020). The main aim of this endeavour is to find ways of crafting a better future for all citizens globally as we face the challenges and opportunities our shared urban and digital futures will bring.
Period25 Aug 2021
Event title12th International Convention of Asia Scholars: Crafting a Global Future
Event typeConference
Conference number12
LocationKyoto , JapanShow on map


  • Citizenship
  • Big Data
  • information communication
  • the digital age
  • the future