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Mon, 5 May 2014 08:56:55 +0000
Marcus Foth <[log in to unmask]>
Marcus Foth <[log in to unmask]>
"ACM SIGCHI General Interest Announcements (Mailing List)" <[log in to unmask]>
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Transdisciplinary Approaches to Urban Computing
Special Issue of the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (IJHCS)

edited by
Hannu Kukka, University of Oulu
Marcus Foth, Queensland University of Technology
Sebastian Boring, University of Copenhagen
Anind K. Dey, Carnegie Mellon University
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Deadline for submissions: 1st June 2014

The research field of urban computing – defined as “the integration of computing, sensing, and actuation technologies into everyday urban settings and lifestyles” [1] – considers the design and use of ubiquitous computing technology in public and shared urban environments. Its impact on cities, buildings, and spaces evokes innumerable kinds of change [2]. Embedded into our everyday lived environments, urban computing technologies have the potential to alter the meaning of physical space, and affect the activities performed in those spaces. In this special issue, we invite contributions to a multi-themed discussion of various aspects that make up the, at times, messy and certainly transdisciplinary field of urban computing and urban informatics.

The starting point for the proposed special issue is a call for a more transdisciplinary approach to the design and evaluation of urban computing systems that regards these systems as holistic, organic and evolving constructs comprising three interrelated components: people, place, technology. Following Nicolescu [3], we use the term transdisciplinarity to signify the positioning of urban computing research at once between different disciplines, across these disciplines, and beyond all discipline. The term differs from the related concepts of multidisciplinarity, where a topic is studied by several disciplines that are in service of a base discipline, and interdisciplinarity, where methods from one discipline are transferred to another.

Looking at urban computing from a transdisciplinary perspective is useful in that a large methodological and theoretical gap exists in much of the current literature. Often, the epistemological, methodological, theoretical, and practical contributions of relevant fields of study (e.g., computer science, architecture and design, and social sciences) do not connect to form a solid basis for the advancement of cities and city life. Despite the inherent complexity and transdisciplinary nature of urban computing as a subject of study, few such efforts have been undertaken. However, moving the field forward requires explorations of the opportunities and challenges inherent in truly transdisciplinary work by researchers from several interrelated fields of study coming together to design, build, and evaluate urban computing systems.

In the proposed special issue we call for contributions from both practical and theoretical points of view discussing the practice and promise of transdisciplinary work in the field of urban computing and urban informatics. Specifically, we hope to elicit contributions from researchers in the various fields closely related to urban computing such as computer science, social sciences (e.g., cultural anthropology), and architecture and urban design. We envision the following contributions: (1) experience reports on transdisciplinary projects in real-life urban settings, reporting results from urban computing studies conducted in a transdisciplinary manner; and (2) theoretical/conceptual discussions on the merits of understanding the topic not only from a technological perspective, taking into consideration the various interrelated disciplines and fields of study. The proposed topic is timely and significant, since more and more explorations are conducted “at large” or

"in-the-wild,” i.e. outside traditional research laboratory settings. This move from controlled laboratories to messy real-life environments is far from trivial, and requires an integrated approach that both takes into account and respects the inherent transdisciplinarity that carrying out high quality research in such settings requires. Hence, contributions in the proposed special issue should be of interest to a large and varied audience of researchers and practitioners who either already do research “in-the-wild,” or hope to transition to such work in the future.

[1] Kindberg, C., Chalmers, M., Paulos, E. (2007) Guest Editor’s Introduction: Urban Computing. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 6(3), 18-20.
[2] Fuller, M. (2013) Foreword. In: Throughout: Art and Culture Emerging with Ubiquitous Computing. MIT Press.
[3] Nicolescu, B. (2001) Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity. Translated from French by Karen-Claire Voss. State of New York Press: New York.

The aim of this Special Issue is to present high quality, original, manuscripts related to the issue of transdisciplinary approaches to the field of urban computing. Manuscripts must be original, but significant expansions and revisions of papers recently presented at conferences and workshops will be considered. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

	• Experience reports on transdisciplinary projects in real-life urban settings
	• Reporting results from urban computing studies conducted in a transdisciplinary manner
	• Theoretical/conceptual discussions on the need for / the advancement of transdisciplinary work

We are looking to publish a mix (roughly 50/50) of papers with a theoretical and practical contribution, depending of course on the number and types of submissions we receive.

Deadline: manuscripts are due 1st June 2014 but early submissions are encouraged.

All contributions will be rigorously peer reviewed to the usual exacting standards of the IJHCS journal. Further information, including submission procedures and advice on formatting and preparing your manuscript, can be found at:

Manuscripts are submitted via the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) at:

To discuss a possible contribution, please contact the special issue editors at:
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For more information please visit:

Associate Professor Marcus Foth

Director, Urban Informatics Research Lab
Principal Research Fellow, School of Design
Queensland University of Technology
130 Victoria Park Road, Brisbane QLD 4059, Australia
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CRICOS No. 00213J

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