Introduction: The Digital Polis and Its Practices—Beyond Gated Communities

Heewon Chung*, Kon Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter introduces the concept of the ‘digital polis’ as the focus of this edited collection, which investigates the idea along the dimensions of subjectivity and reality as well as in terms of exclusion and cooperation in communities across physical and virtual urban spaces. Tracing back to Mumford’s description of the city as media and its development by Kittler, the chapter launches the ‘digital polis’ as a key concept underpinning a new theoretical framework that brings to the fore the (re)production of power, knowledge, and space by physically and virtually networked communities, thereby expanding the scope of research for Urban Humanities in contemporary urban environments. The questions we explore in the book revolve around how people, urban spaces, and technologies relate to and affect each other in an urban future. With the advent of a digital divide that produces cyberspace as a kind of gated community, what will our urban future be like? What is the ‘digital polis’ and what kinds of new subjectivity does it produce? How do digital technology and its virtuality reshape the city and our spatial awareness of it? What kinds of exclusion and cooperation are at work in communities and spaces in the digital age? This introduction helps readers navigate the following chapters to open avenues for research and to build new discourses on the ‘digital polis’ as the grounds for a genuinely humanizing urbanism in latent futures, or in other words, futures in the making that are ‘on the way’.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in 21st Century Human Settlements
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in 21st Century Human Settlements
ISSN (Print)2198-2546
ISSN (Electronic)2198-2554


  • Alternative urbanism
  • Digital polis
  • Gated community
  • Urban humanities


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