Arizona State University


The Virtual Polis

Interactive Geographies, Immersive Narratives, and Participatory Governance

Part of the Conference Society. Space. Screens.


This conference call aims to delve into the transformative capabilities of interactive media, multi-channel design, eXtended Reality (XR), spatial computing, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and strategically staged historic forms of media that shape interactive geographies. This exploration focuses on redefining urban and rural narratives, encouraging inclusive participatory development, and confronting emerging societal challenges. Drawing inspiration from our phenomenological experience of space, the material history of architectural forms, and the concepts of the “virtual polis” and digital democracy, this interdisciplinary event invites contributions from urban planners, technologists, community activists, political scientists, architects, sociologists, digital humanities scholars, and risk professionals.

We invite abstracts and proposals for presentations, panels, and workshops that address these themes broadly, providing critical insights and fostering discussions on the evolving relationship between society, space, and technology. The conference aims to create a platform for interdisciplinary dialogue, contributing to a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age.

Key Words & Themes:

Technology and Urbanism; Cultural and Identity Dynamics; Resistance, Adaptation, and Community Empowerment; Digital Risk and Ethical Considerations; Societal Risk, Futures Thinking, and Urban Resilience; Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Case Studies.


Part of the Conference Society. Space. Screens.

Arizona State University, USA


Thematic Descriptions:

Technology and Urbanism: Exploring the impact of digital tools such as VR, AR, MR(XR) and HCI, CAD and BIM on architectural design and urban planning. Investigating how these technologies intersect with participatory planning and design, our experiences of space, and the creation of interactive geographies.
Societal Transformations and Digital Citizenship: Examining the role of social media, digital technologies, and interactive platforms in shaping community connections, political engagement, and spatial interactions. Assessing the implications of digital advancements on democratic processes and the concept of the “virtual polis.”
Cultural and Identity Dynamics: Analyzing the effects of online platforms and emerging media on cultural identity and tradition. Investigating the persistence of traditional practices and cultural expressions in digitally underutilized regions or areas and how immersive narratives can connect people with alternative urban futures.
Resistance, Adaptation, and Community Empowerment: Discussing the rejection and adaptation of technological advancements in various sectors due to political, cultural, or resource-related reasons. Highlighting community-led initiatives that leverage digital tools for co-creation, empowerment, and inclusive development.
Digital Risk and Ethical Considerations: Addressing the ethical implications of digital urbanism and the importance of promoting digital equity. Ensuring that technological interventions respect the integrity of local communities and contribute to equitable urban development.
Societal Risk, Futures Thinking, and Urban Resilience: Investigating the role of technology in identifying, mitigating, and managing societal risks, including emergent risks and disasters. Exploring how digital tools, participatory approaches, and future thinking methodologies can enhance urban resilience and safety. Delving into the practice of rehearsing different future scenarios to better prepare for and respond to complex societal challenges.
Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Case Studies: Encouraging contributions that bridge disciplines, offering insights into the interaction between technology and traditional practices across various fields. Presenting successful examples of digital urbanism, participatory governance, and community empowerment initiatives. Sharing lessons learned and discussing the scalability and replicability of these projects.

Key people:

The key partners for this conference at Arizona State University are:

Sarah Bassett. Professor of Practice, School of Public Affairs (SPA), Senior Global Futures Scientist, Global Futures Scientists and Scholars, Professor of Practice, Watts College Interdisciplinary Programs

Nicholas Pilarski. Associate Professor, The Sidney Poitier New American Film School, Associate Professor, Center for Innovation in Informal STEM Learning, Senior Global Futures Scientist, Global Futures Scientists and Scholars


Society. Spaces. Screens. Part of the Mediated Cities Series

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Other Tracks: Mediating Visions – CESAR School >>Medias: Surface, Space and In-Between – Yonsei University >>

Image: Jet de la Cruz