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.

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.

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.

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.

Our Institute is temporary by nature, and will only exist for a few years. Our mission is to catalyze movements for digital transparency in cities and support local communities to independently bring these movements forward.

our Board

Global Advisory Board Member

Ariane Koek is a international Strategic Consultant, Producer and Writer Arts Science Technology & Arts Residencies. Today she works independently and internationally as a strategic partner/associate, creative producer, curator, writer, and mentor in arts science technology and knowledge crossover projects. Her career is dedicated to the power of creativity, imagination and knowledge for cultural, social, political change and innovation for the good of all.

Global Advisory Board Member

Jesus cares about the future of cities and governance models. He’s obtained Excellence Honors for both of his academic degrees, Mechatronics Engineer and PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. As a technology entrepreneur, he praises data-driven strategies and top technology to address global challenges. He’s fully committed to growing OS City, a company he co-founded to make cities more sustainable and governments more trustworthy.

Global Advisory Board Member

Charlotte is the Global Disability Advisor for the World Bank Group and an internationally renowned thought leader on disability and inclusion.

Global Advisory Board Member

R.T. Rybak is the president and CEO, The Minneapolis Foundation. R.T. spent 30 years in journalism, publishing, marketing, and the Internet before serving as Mayor of Minneapolis from 2002 to 2013. His most significant career focus has been developing equitable career paths for youth of color.

Global Advisory Board Member

Aleksandar is a serial entrepreneur and expert for digital innovation in regulated markets. As the Executive Chairman and Co-Founder at AVA, a Berlin-based data fusion platform and artificial intelligence, his ambition is to democratize access to risk-intelligence and to enable individuals, organizations, and societies to make the best-informed decisions regarding security and public safety.

Global Advisory Board Member

Dr. Xiaodong LEE is the founder and CEO of Fuxi Institution, which is focusing on Internet Innovation and Development and dedicating to advancing practice-oriented Internet services and research on Critical Internet Infrastructure, Big Data, Cybersecurity, Internet Development and Governance. Professor and Director, Laboratory for Internet Infrastructure, Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Director of Center for Internet Governance and adjunct Professor of School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University. He is serving as Vice President of Internet Society of China, Member of Global Future Council of World Economic Forum (WEF), Commissioner of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC), Commissioner of Global Information Infrastructure Commission (GIIC), Member of All-China Youth Federation.

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