International Conference 27-28 May, Madrid

Technologies of the Democratic City

D-CENT (Decentralised Citizens ENgagement Technologies) is the biggest European project on direct democracy and citizen engagement. It is a flagship project that reshapes the future of digital democracy, by supporting large scale pilots and research on network democracy, new forms of citizen participation and the governance of digital commons.

Democratic Cities – Commons technology and the right to a democratic city taking place from the 23–28 May in Madrid, will gather together +400 participants to discuss network democracy, new forms of citizen participation, digital tools for democratic participation, and urban commons for democratic cities. The International Conference (27-28 May, Museo Reina Sofia) will conclude the week’s activities, and is the final event of the D-CENT project.

The International Conference 27-28 May in Madrid is a unique chance to hear a wide range of thought leaders, policy-makers, urban planners, philosophers, activists and academics to discuss the future of citizen led movements and democratic technology. There is one common denominator that binds the conference speakers, namely that they are in many ways activists and pioneers that have revolutionized democracy in the past years, and are rethinking technology and shaping public policy to devolve power to the people. View the full programme here and register to participate.

Who are the speakers?

High-level policy makers, academics, activists, civic society organizations and hackers will debate about the future of democratic City Governments. Together we explore new ways of strengthening citizens’ participation in the political process presenting existing public policies, practices and digital tools for a more participatory democracy.

The crisis of political representation and legitimacy of current institutions, corruption scandals that unveiled the major political parties’ complicity with private interest, and the public disaffection have created a very complex situation where citizens often feel alienated to participate. D-CENT project beliefs that political participation can be reactivated, with concrete proposals to devolve greater control and power to citizens and to transition towards commons- based alternatives and democratic technologies. We will demonstrate the credibility of citizen empowering technologies during these two days through debates and presentations.

The conference will cover the following themes and trends:

– Growing collective platforms and digital democracy in Europe
– Empowering citizens: towards new forms of democracy
– Beyond surveillance capitalism: Towards democratic alternatives
– Post-capitalism, digital commons and democratic cities
– Direct Democracy: New opportunities in the Digital Age for reinventing politics
– Building a network of Cities of Change
– Freedom and technology self-determination in the era of digital surveillance
– Hacktivism for democracy

Speakers include:
Julian Assange, Wikileaks | Francesca Bria, D-CENT | Fabrizio Sestini, European Commission | Raquel Rolnik, University of São Paulo | Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid | Paul Mason, The Guardian | Evgeny Morozov, author and editorialist | Francesco “Bifo” Berardi, writer and philosopher | Carlos Prieto del Campo, Museo Reina Sofia | Renata Avila, Web We Want Foundation | Pablo Soto, Madrid City Council | Sergio Amadeu de Silveira, Professor, Federal University of ABC | Adam Greenfield, writer and urbanist  | and many more…

>> Get to know our speakers


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In a snapshot some of our distinguished speakers:

Julian Assange
Julian Assange is an Australian publisher, journalist, and activist. He is the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, which he co-founded in 2006 after an earlier career in hacking and programming. He is the author of Cypherpunks (OR Books, 2011) and When Google met Wikileaks (OR Books, 2014). His latest book is The Wikileaks Files (Verso Books, 2015).

Raquel Rolnik
Raquel Rolnik is an architect and urban planner and professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the USP. She was special rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on the Right to Adequate Housing, for two terms (2008-2011, 2011-2014).

Paul Mason
Paul Mason is a freelance journalist and film-maker. His documentary #ThisIsACoup told the story of Syriza’s clash with the Eurozone and IMF in 2015. His latest book is Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future. He is a participant in the New Economics project organised by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

Evgeny Morozov
Evgeny Morozov is the author of To Save Everything, Click Here (2013), The Net Delusion (2011) and a columnist for a number of international publications. He’s written extensively about technology and politics for publications such as The New Yorker, London Review of Books, Financial Times, and others.

Francesca Bria
Francesca Bria has a PhD on innovation economics from Imperial College, London and is a Senior Advisor on technology and innovation policy at Nesta Innovation Lab. She is the EU Coordinator of the D-CENT project on open democracy and digital currencies and the DSI project on digital social innovation in Europe. She is an adviser for the European Commission on the internet of things, smart cities, and innovation policy.

Francesco “Bifo” Berardi
Francesco Berardi is a contemporary writer, media-theorist and media-activist. He founded the magazine A/traverso (1975-1981) and was part of the staff of Radio Alice, the first free pirate radio station in Italy (1976-1978).

Sergio Amadeu de Silveira
Sergio Amadeu da Silveira is a Professor at Federal University of ABC (UFABC). He received his PhD in Political Science from University of São Paulo (USP) in 2005. He is a known researcher of digital networks, privacy and collaborative technologies. He is free software activist.

Pablo Soto
Pablo Soto is a Councillor for Citizen Participation, Transparency and Open Government in the City of Madrid. He is a member of the Governing Board and the Councillor for Citizen Participation, Transparency and Open Government.

Adam Greenfield
Adam Greenfield is a London-based writer and urbanist. Senior Urban Fellow at LSE Cities for 2014, he currently teaches the “Architectures of Participation” course at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Greenfield’s publications include Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing (2006), Against the smart city (2013), and Radical Technologies (forthcoming from Verso).

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