Edgelands Institute

Edgelands project.

the edgelands institute

The Edgelands Institute is a multi-disciplinary organization that uses academic research, data, and art to explore how the digitalization of urban security is changing the urban social contract — the often-unseen rules that govern our cities. We create pop-up spaces that bring citizens, policymakers, academics, and other stakeholders into dialogue about the way that digital tools are being used by city governments and transforming urban social fabric.

Edgelands project: social lab.

a global movement

The Edgelands Institute is a global movement. We set up temporary residence in select cities across the globe that have made innovative strides in their use of digital technologies, particularly in application to security. Our first stop is Medellín, Colombia, where we are engaging local youth in research and activism that focuses on how city leaders are using surveillance tools to address crime in the city.

Read more about our work in Medellín here.

Matza edgelands.

what are the "edgelands"?

The "Edgelands" is a term used by city planners to describe the transitional, liminal areas of space found on the boundaries of country and town. As the global population continues to urbanize and cities grow, these boundaries may begin to blur or even disappear altogether.

At the Edgelands Institute, we've applied this concept of liminal space to the boundaries between public and private life in urban spaces. Digital tools used to monitor people and places or exchange information have the capacity to change the frameworks of authority (the social contract) between a government and its citizens.

Research sprint participants hang their dreams as part as a workshop activity to reimagine the social contract in Medellín.

what is a pop-up space?

A pop-up space (or a "pop-up") is a space that is in temporarily activated for a specific use. Most often, pop-ups are retail or event spaces that appear for a brief period to create buzz around a certain item or idea.

The pop-up concept — as well as the energy it brings— is central to our work at Edgelands. We believe that incorporating the pop-up as a mode of engagement will break down the barriers of accessibility and diversity of experience that so often exist in traditional academic and policymaking circles. Furthermore, the excitement of pop-up events spreads awareness of the complex issues that we work on. We create spaces for dialogue and research both on and offline that are collaborative and compelling.

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Edgelands project.Edgelands project: social lab.Matza edgelands.Research sprint participants hang their dreams as part as a workshop activity to reimagine the social contract in Medellín.

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