Edgelands Institute: Global Launch

Curious about reimagining our urban social contracts in this era of mass surveillance, pandemics, and urbanization? Join in the launch of the pop-up Edgelands Institute.

The Edgelands Institute is an interdisciplinary pop-up institute to redraw our social contract in our era of mass-urbanization, surveillance, pandemics, and other emergencies. Currently being incubated at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, it results partly from a collaboration with Swissnex in Boston.

The Institute stems from the perception that the rapid deployment of surveillance technologies in cities to provide security services is reshaping how we interact with government, corporations, and each other without receiving the attention this transformation deserves. There is an urgent need for an inclusive conversation around how this is affecting our societies. The goal of the institute is to bring together all the concerned parties to find and create common ground. Its mission is to imagine the terms of new social contracts that work for cities and people in the age of pandemics and digital surveillance.

The event will last for 60 minutes. It will introduce the institute’s mission, methodology. True to its mission, it will bring together arts and research to have an engaging session. To guide the conversation, the organizers would appreciate it if you could answer a few questions for us on your views about the urban social contract in your city.



The Edgelands «pop-up» institute combines academia’s intellectual power with the experimental nature and energy of art pop-ups. We are certain this is the best way to explore the intersection of changing social contracts and power dynamics, digital security, and politics in specific contexts.