Mon, 01 Mar 2004 17:24:52 GMT



6th International Summer Academy on Technology Studies: ãUrban Infrastructure in
Transition: What can we learn from history?ä

Deutschlandsberg, Austria, July 11 ö 17, 2004

Organized by Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture (IFZ),

Cities are powerfully shaped by socio-technical networks and infrastructures. These
organize and mediate the distribution of people, goods, services, information, waste,
capital, and energy within, and between, urban regions. The quality of urban life (50% of
the worldâs population live in cities) depends heavily on urban infrastructures and service
systems (water, sewage, energy, transport, telecommunications). Achieving sustainable
urban infrastructure networks is vital if cities are to thrive or even function in the long

The Summer Academy 2004 will focus on the transition of urban infrastructure in view of
changing framework conditions and new challenges in a historical perspective. A starting
point is the contemporary debate about urban infrastructure, in which you hardly can find
a reference to historical experiences. This is precisely where the discussions of this yearâs
Summer Academy will raise the following questions:

- What can historical analysis of the development and design of urban technical
infrastructure systems contribute to an understanding of the current transition process?

- What can we learn from history to manage current challenges for our water, electricity,
telecommunications, and transport systems?

- What can we learn from history for a sustainable design and governance of infrastructure
technology networks in the present and future?

The main objectives of the Summer Academy are to explore:

- the process of transition of urban technical infrastructure systems and urban technology
networks in a historical perspective,

- strategies for a more sustainable, i. e. socially and environmentally friendly design of
urban technologies as an issue of technology studies and technology policy,

- the contribution of urban infrastructure systems for a sustainable development of cities
or urban areas in general.


Participants are encouraged to present a paper related to one of the following topics:

1) Political aspects of urban technology

This topic focuses on the question of organization, regulation, design and governance of
urban infrastructure concerning the following issues: Relationship between market/politics
and the private and public sector of the economy; systems of services of general interest;
structures of governance, measures of managing technical progress (transition
management), technical regimes, path dependencies; actors (private and public
institutions, municipalities, countries, national states, trans-national actors); decision-
making process and role of key decision-makers in determining the choice of services to
be provided (system builders); concepts of participation, beyond centralization.

2) Social aspects of urban technology

This topic of the social impacts or the social importance of urban infrastructures includes
the following issues: Systems of technical infrastructures as a socially and environmentally
sound technology; impacts on the environment; concepts or visions of public assistance or
fundamental public services; changes in the understanding of services of general interest
(or in the definition of basic needs); tensions between technical network integration and
social, political and cultural integration/disintegration processes; relationship between
citizens and public authorities; users, consumption patterns, life-styles.

3) Cultural aspects of urban technology

This topic focuses on the interaction between the transformation of urban infrastructures
and cultural change (discourses). The main issues in this context are: Interrelations
between the process of modernization (transition of urban technology) and cultural
change; theories of infrastructure; discourses of modernization, technology as a symbol of
modernity, ideas/visions and self concepts of modern or (in a contemporary context)
sustainable cities; urbanity; criticism of urban technology and civilization.

Please submit a one page abstract and a maximum of one page on your work and research
The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 2, 2004. You will be notified of acceptance by
April 19.

A maximum of 40 participants will be accepted.

The language of the conference will be English.

¥ 290.ö
The fee covers the conference proceedings and materials, coffee and refreshments as well as social events during the week.

¥ 358.ö to ¥ 418.ö
The charge includes accommodation (six nights) and half board (breakfast and lunch) for
the period of Sunday evening to Friday evening.
Rooms have been reserved by the organisers.

A special grant scheme covering travel costs, accommodation and fees will be open to NIS
(New Independent States of the former Soviet Union) Young Scientists. Participants from
Central and South Eastern European and developing countries may also request financial

For further information or registration form, please visit our web site: http://