Urban Assemblage: The City as Architecture, Media, AI and Big Data

Online Conference
Organized by: University of Hertfordshire / AMPS

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About This Event

This conference is planned as a hybrid in-person and virtual event. The keynote will be held in London. In-person presentations will take place in the University of Hertfordshire campus in Hatfield on the outskirts of London.


The role of computers in the design, control and making of the public life [and space] is increasingly dominant, their presence pervasive, and their relationship with people characterised by a growing complexity. Batty 2017.

The scenario described by Batty is underpinned by a plethora of phenomena. It includes the Internet of Things, ubiquitous computing, computer-led infrastructure, big data and AI. In essence, the built environment has become a site for the production, processing and sharing of information daily through the software interlaced with it. It is also a place designed, envisaged and increasingly built through data based digital architecture, planning and construction. Advanced parametric modelling envisages data in both building design and city management. Augmented reality mediates our experience of the city with layers of information. Digital infrastructure interconnects our city and building services. The result is a series of complex interactions of people, place and data and the establishment of the ‘digital city’, ‘smart buildings’ and ‘intelligent’ urbanism.

This new polemic agency of the machine to generate, analyse and distribute data is not limited to the built environment however. It also informs the creative industries. A plethora of films in recent decades have built on the imagery it offers: The Matrix, Ex Machina, Her, Minority Report to name but a few. In the arts, data is increasingly used as both a tool and motive for artworks. David McCandless’ founding of the platform Information Is Beautiful, and Aaron Koblin’s establishment of Google’s Data Arts Team are typical examples. Landscape and projection artists use the digital recalibration of data into imagery to create spaces and representations of our cities daily.

Today then, the potential for technology and data to alter how we design, live and experience our cities is obvious and everywhere. However, there are concerns. GIS, Google Maps and Facebook all offer interconnected information on urban life. They are also conduits for the collation of personal data and its misuse. The assumption of digital access for all leads some to worry about issues of social exclusion. Sociologists highlight the dangers of the digital dependency of future generations.  3D printed buildings threaten job losses in the construction industry. The idea of parametric urbanism is an anathema to many for whom city is a place of interpersonal interaction.

Batty’s understanding of the role of computers in the design, control and making of the public realm then, is not just ubiquitous, it is cross disciplinary, complex and expanding.

Themes and Disciplines:

Based on an interdisciplinary reading of the built environment as architecture, data, technology, digital innovation, artistic creation and urban design, this conference will be organised in subject areas including:

  • ART,  DESIGN  &  FILM   

Participants in each area are invited to propose ‘lead themes’. Reflecting the expertise of the University of Hertfordshire, the first of these lead themes is “Artificial Intelligence and Urban Assemblages”. Read More

Other proposed strands and themes include: computational design, the digital city, smart buildings, data driven urbanism, parametric architecture, art-film-photography and the city, digital accessibility, participatory technology and planning, sociology of the city, and more.


The conference offers both virtual and in-person options:

Pre-recorded film:  Delegates can make pre-recorded films/videos of their presentations. These will be published on the AMPS YouTube channel and will be available permanently after the conference.

Screenings: In addition to presentations by academics, the conference welcomes short films (narrative or otherwise) from filmmakers.

Zoom: Also reflecting the virtual and mediated theme of the event, delegates are encouraged to present via Zoom.

In-person: In addition to seeking filmic and the virtual presentations, delegates are also welcome to attend the event in person and present directly.

Written papers: In all cases, delegates can present full written papers for inclusion in all associated conference publications.

Key dates:

  • 01 December 2020: Abstract Submissions (Round One) *
  • 30 December 2020:  Abstract Feedback
  • 01 January 2021:  Conference Registration opens
  • 01 April 2021: Abstract Submissions (Round Two)   
  • 25 April 2021:  Abstract Feedback

Conference: 28-30th June, 2021

  • 30 July 2021: Full Paper Submissions (where applicable)
  • 30 September 2021: Feedback for publication 
  • 30 November 2021: Full Paper re-submission
  • January 2022: Publications

* Early abstracts and Round One submissions allow for prompt review. This is open to all but is particularly useful for international delegates requiring a visa to attend the conference.

Submit: admin@architecturemps.com


Delegates are given the option to present their work at conference either with or without an accompanying full written paper. If written papers are submitted they should be 3000 word length. Formatting instructions will be available at the time of the conference. All papers are double blind peer reviewed and will be include in the AMPS conference proceedings series, ISSN 2398-9467.

Subject to review, selected authors will be invited to develop longer versions of their papers for inclusion in the book series and journals collaborating with PARADE (Publication & Research in Art, Architectures, Design and Environments). It involves the following publishers:

  • Routledge Taylor & Francis
  • UCL Press
  • Intellect Books
  • Libri Publishing
  • Vernon Press
  • Cambridge Scholars Publishing
  • Architecture_MPS journal

Highlight Notice 1: This event is part of the conference and book series Mediated Cities. Previous events in London, Los Angeles, Bristol, Canterbury and Istanbul. Book five in the Intellect Book series will come from this event.

Highlight Notice 2: Our most recent book series collaboration. Routledge, Focus on Pedagogy seeks contributions on pedagogy. The conference proposes a special teaching and learning strand.


  • Start Date:
    Mon, 28 Jun 2021
  • End Date:
    Wed, 30 Jun 2021
  • Proposal/Abstract/Paper Deadline:
    Tue, 01 Dec 2020


  • London / Virtual / Hatfield, UK
    Hatfield / United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • +111111
  • gc@architecturemps.com
Event Website