Urban Law Day 2019: Smart Cities - an emerging legal challenge

Urban Law Day 2019: Smart Cities - an emerging legal challenge
12 July 2019, 9.00am - 1.30pm
Conference / Symposium
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR


Concept note:


Smart cities - an emerging legal challenge 
The Urban Law Day is a specialised forum aiming to bring together a multidisciplinary circle of academics and practitioners interested in urban legislation, including planners, architects, policy makers, economists, urbanists, and lawyers.

The purpose of the Urban Law Day is to facilitate discussion, the exchange of views, networking, and the presentation of new research findings or emerging issues. The 6th Urban Law Day will take place on 12 July 2019 at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London) and will address specific legal issues linked to” Smart Cities”.


The New Urban Agenda was adopted by the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) on the 20th October 2016. The New Urban Agenda is a non-binding roadmap that sets policy objectives for environmentally friendly cities, which are engines of prosperity and centres of cultural and social well-being. 

‘Smart’ cities are innovative cities whose functions are ‘transformed’ through the use of technology. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other means are used to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, competitiveness, the environment, mobility, governance and wellbeing. Through the potential of ICTs to support urban operations and participation, smart cities can be enablers for the main objectives envisioned in the New Urban Agenda and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development especially with regard to inclusivity, accessibility, safety and resilience. However, the concept of smart cities raises a number of legal challenges in terms of criminality, privacy and protection of fundamental rights.

Purpose and expected outcome of the Urban Law Day 

The overall objective of the Urban Law Day is to explore in depth the concept and dimensions of smart cities as well as emerging legal challenges associated with them. Participants will be asked to share country experiences, challenges and ideas and to actively participate in discussion.


The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is part of the School of Advanced Study of the University of London with the mandate to promote research facilitation, advance innovation, and bridge research between academy and the professions. The Institute produces its own high impact research, and contributes to the generation and development of high impact research by others. The Institute brings together academic researchers, students, judges and legal practitioners from diverse backgrounds, enabling important opportunities for cross-fertilisation and has leadership involvement in strong networks both discipline-based and spanning geographical and jurisdictional differences.

Through its research projects and programmes the IALS leads and shapes research agendas, facilitates the identification of new research horizons and facilitates debate by providing opportunities and resources for cutting-edge research.

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations by its resolution 32/162 of 19 December 1977 and transformed into a Programme by its resolution 56/206 of 21 December 2001. It has its Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. UN-Habitat is the coordinating agency within the United Nations System for human settlement activities, the focal point for the monitoring, evaluation and implementation of the Habitat Agenda, as well as the task manager of the human settlements chapter of Agenda 21, and, in collaboration with governments is responsible for promoting and consolidating collaboration with all partners, including local authorities and private and non-governmental organizations in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, as well as supporting the national and local governments in monitoring the 2030Agenda - Sustainable Development Goal 11, the “Urban SDG”- to make human settlements inclusive, safe resilient and sustainable.


09:00-09:30 - Registration
09:30-09:45 - Introduction & Welcome address
Overview of the Urban Law Initiative, Dr. Maria Mousmouti, IALS

09:45-10:15 - Smart Cities and the New Urban Agenda, Robert Lewis-Lettington, Chief, Urban Legislation Unit, UN-Habitat; Chair of the ITU Working Group on Security, Privacy and Trust, including Governance, for Smart Cities and Communities

10:15–10:45 - Empowering citizens through data, Jaideep Gupte, Principal Investigator on Smart Data for Inclusive Cities

10:45–11:15 - Q & A – Discussion

11:15 - 11:45 - Coffee break

11:45-12:15 - Block Chain as a Land Administration Solution, Robert Home, Emeritus Professor of Land Management, Anglia Ruskin University

12:15-12:45 - Private is Public: personal data in public spaces, Perry Keller, Reader in Media and Information Law Dickson Poon School of Law King’s College London

12:45-13:15 - Q & A – Discussion

13:15-13:30 - Award of certificates

13:30-15:00 - Lunch

Dr Jaideep Gupte is the Principal Investigator on Smart Data for Inclusive Cities funded by the European Commission. He is Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies, at the University of Sussex, where his research interrogates urban violence and wellbeing. Jaideep is also interested in using GIS/GPS-aided local data to understand material, temporal and political aspects of urban informality.

Professor Robert Home, Emeritus Professor of Land Management, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Economics, Finance and Law, Anglia Ruskin University. Previously, Rob was Principal Lecturer and Reader in Planning at University of East London, and also Lecturer in the Department of Land Management & Development at the University of Reading. He also held visiting positions at the Universities of Onati (Spain), Stellenbosch & Pretoria (South Africa), Ife, (Nigeria), Copperbelt (Zambia), Haifa (Israel), Kyoto (Japan), and Hong Kong.

Dr Perry Keller is Reader in Media and Information Law and specialises in the areas of information privacy / data protection and freedom of expression. Having joined the Dickson Poon School of Law in 1994, he was Vice Dean of School (Education) from 2013 to 2016. Mr Keller was previously a lecturer in law at the University of Manchester and a senior lecturer at King’s. He received his first degree (BA) from the University of British Columbia and later received an LLB degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Ontario and finally an LLM degree from Harvard Law School. He also completed a two year postgraduate programme at Nanjing University in the Peoples' Republic of China. Before becoming an academic lawyer, Mr Keller practiced law in Canada and was also employed by the Government of Hong Kong. 

This conference is free but advance booking is required.


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