World Cities World Class
University Network Symposium 2019

July 28 - August 2, 2019

Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University

29 Polytechnicheskaya Str.,
Research Building (Metro Polytechnicheskaya),
195251, St. Petersburg, Russia

Smart Cities and Digital Society

About WC2 Network

The World Cities World Class University (WC2) Network brings together top universities located in the heart of major world cities to address culture, environment and political issues of common interest to world cities. WC2 aims to advance understanding and recognition of the role of universities in world cities and issues that are of common interest to them, both locally and internationally. The flow of staff, students and information domestically and across borders contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of world cities, their universities and their potential to impact and aid each other.

The WC2 network was established in September 2010 by City, University of London and currently has 10 member institutions.

For more information, please, visit WC2 official web-site.

WC2 Symposium-2019, St. Petersburg

Dates: July 28th to August 2nd, 2019.

Host University: Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg, Russia

The core topic of the 2019 WC2 Symposium is «Smart Cities and Digital Society».

The 2019 Symposium will address the key challenges of the society as in the modern global world as well as in the largest cities digitalization and smart city issues are of an extreme importance.

The Symposium is primarily open to faculty, graduate and PhD students at WC2 member universities.

2019 Theme topic: Technological advances in healthcare and their clinical applications.

The health Club will focus on the theoretical underpinnings, use and applications of healthcare technology in research and clinical practice. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to present their work in this area and we will share research and practice in technological healthcare advances across different settings, context and countries. The week will also include visits to rehabilitation and medical centres. During this week, we will explore levels of research and knowledge development and progression from scientific enquiry and laboratory work to more applied science, knowledge mobilization and evidence based practice/medicine. Students will be asked to prepare a piece of work before the symposium, and present this work to the group. A selection of recommended readings will be provide to assist with this exercise and will provide valuable background information to the main themes to be discussed during the week.


Students are asked to choose ONE of the following topics for presentation at the symposium. Each presentation will be 20 minutes in length and will include a short introductory synopsis (around 5 minutes) of the student, their research, and the remaining time should be given to their work on one of the following topics:

  1. Conduct a review of the use of technology in an area of healthcare that is of interest to you. Please also make reference to how it is employed in your country.
  2. Review three mobile health care apps in an area of your choice using a rating scale that will be provided. Include in your answer an evaluation of the rating scale you have used.
  3. Choose a patient-focused health care technology, and write a critical review of the acceptability of the device/technology. Please include in your presentation a definition of acceptability, exploring acceptability from different perspectives (e.g. professional vs service user vs carer), and contrast the needs of the different groups.

Recommended Reading

2019 Theme topic

In its commitment to addressing the global issue of environmental management and the challenges of climate change, the goal of the Eco-Campus Group of WC2 is to develop a “Zero Emissions Urban University Model.”

The Eco-Campus Group framework for the 2019 Symposium in Saint-Petersburg will focus on effective urban planning and master plan strategies for implementing the Zero Emissions Campus, addressing the issues of digitalization in architecture and civil engineering and sustainable development.

Students will work in mixed groups supervised by the faculty members of the Eco-Campus Group from SPbPU (Russia), TUB (Germany), CUNY (USA), USP (Brazil), UAM (Mexico) and Tongji University (China).

Ideas on campus design will be developed by the students within the general conception of the SPbPU Federal Technopolis project, which will be realized at SPbPU from 2019-2025. The aim of the student projects is to develop a Master Plan of the Staff and Student Campuses, based on the principles of the Zero Emissions Campus with consideration to the digitalization of the University society.

The students will be tasked with the following:

  1. Develop the territory of the campus, bearing in mind the specific climatic factors.
  2. Work on the design of residential buildings or one of the sports facilities.

During the last theme session, each team will give a twenty-minute presentation of the project. The major points of all the student projects will be presented during the final plenary of the Symposium.

In addition to design studio visits to significant architectural and cultural site, visits to exciting locations in Saint Petersburg will be included.

2019 Theme topic

The core topic of the 2019 WC2 Symposium is «Smart Cities and Digital Society». This covers all modern methods, technologies and solutions based on informatization and digitalization of transport system. Participants will share recent advances of each team in this area and visit several industrial sites providing smart transport solutions.

Transport is at the heart of the development of world cities, as the advantages in carrying out economic activities in proximity (often called “economies of agglomeration”) justify the very existence of cities. Transport is the means to achieving this proximity and increasing the extent to which a city’s activities are easily linked to each other, and therefore, in a world of many competing cities, those with more efficient transport systems have an advantage.

However, providing an efficient transport system in a city to enable the smooth mobility of people and goods does not come without a cost. In many cities today the existing transport infrastructure cannot cope with the steadily increasing demand, and the continuous rise of urban population has rendered many transport systems obsolete, which affects not only the economic aspects of city life but also the quality of life of the residents.

World cities today face a number of problems, which result from their objective of providing efficient transport while at the same time ensuring sustainability and a high standard of living. These include congestion, car dependence, pollution, land use, safety, economic prosperity, as well as political issues, and given that these are all naturally interrelated, the isolated treatment of a single problem without consideration to the others gives rise to additional complexity. A holistic approach is, therefore, required for tackling the transport problems and challenges of world cities.

The development of methodologies and tools to address the transport problems of world cities with simultaneous consideration of all the problem areas is the aim of the WC2 Transport club. Subject areas of focus include:

  • integrated transport planning
  • traffic management and operations
  • transport safety and security
  • Intelligent Transport Systems
  • railway operations
  • transport modelling
  • travel behaviour
  • transport and public realm
  • transport impacts assessment
  • pollution and environmental sustainability

Today digital technologies are closer to business than ever. The term digitalization is becoming an important part of a company’s strategy and creates various challenges in managerial science. For large cities it means infrastructure and ecosystem transformation, creation of new opportunities for entrepreneurs, integration of existing businesses and the evolvement of technologies for life improvement.

For urban universities these trends raise the central question “What role can city-based universities and their business schools play in evolvement of existing and creation of new business models in the context of digitalization?” This raises the following supplementary questions:

  1. How do digital trends influence existing business models?
  2. What are the opportunities for entrepreneurial activities in this context?
  3. How can business-schools create ecosystems to encourage technological entrepreneurship?
  4. Can business-schools suggest a university-industry collaborative model to encourage digital innovation?
  5. What is the experience of city-based universities in driving business model transformation?

I invite all of the Business Theme participants to consider these questions for WC2 St. Petersburg, Russia. We encourage the involvement of graduate students with an interest in this theme. The Business Theme will use the time available outside of the planned plenary sessions to provide workshops for scholarly research outputs. Such outputs can include research articles for submission to journals or case studies to be submitted to case publishers such as:

Prior to arriving in St. Petersburg, student participants will prepare an extended abstract, an example of which is attached, and will work with faculty to collaborate on either the production of a research article pertaining to one of the supplementary questions above or to a case study publication that applies these questions to a particular company or organization within St. Petersburg or from their home location.

Extended Abstract


What is the purpose of the conceptual article or case study you wish to undertake or if you have an existing work you wish to refine?

Practical implications

What do you see as the practical implications associated with your article or case study?


How do you expect this article or case study will contribute to the existing literature and how original do you think it is?

Theme topic: Digital Education.

That topic allows us considerable breadth while also giving us common points of reference on topics germane to all of the participating campuses. Here are some possible sub-themes:


  • What are the practical and philosophical differences between face-to-face (f2f) and online education, as well as hybrid modalities?
  • How does digital education impact the process of knowledge acquisition, the state of personal development of students, the role of educators?
  • Does digital education improve the prospects for broadening access to education? Does it necessarily improved or degraded quality of delivery?
  • Recognizing that difference disciplines and/or pedagogical traditions may approach digital learning differently, how can universities provide balanced, inclusive support across the academic spectrum?

Digital Education and Digital Culture

  • How does digital education influence the development of digital culture?
  • What types of digital culture appear in modern society?
  • Digital systems are themselves becoming automated. How will the evolving Internet-of-Things (IOT) influence culture and/or the cultural industry? Assuming that at least some jurisdictions will regulate the IOT, how will those regulations themselves influence culture?
  • How do digital technologies help to preserve (or erode) cultural heritage?
  • What new possibilities in the sphere of cultural heritage preservation appear with the development of digital technologies?
  • How does cultural heritage influence the development of the city?

Digital Education and Digital Society.

  • What influences what: digital education on digital society or vice versa? What has changed in society with the development of digital social media?
  • What is the impact of digital social media on trust in institutions?
  • How do social media cultures influence the development of culture overall? Has electronic communication substituted for unmediated communication? What are the consequences of this process?
  • How does identity relate to the specifications of digital society (virtual communities, digital type of communication with identity “spoofing” and the use of avatars, atavistic attacks on RL identities, the much-publicized gender hostility endemic in the gamer community, etc.)?
  • How do digital modes of production inflect social participation and social achievements corresponding to notions of merit (success at university, receipt of grants, participation in international projects), other more clearly exclusionary (e.g., racial/ethnic/religious origin, social class, etc.), and all narrowing access to meaningful social participation?

Digital Education and Urban Affairs Development.

  • How does the preparation of specialists in digital technologies influence the urban affairs? Does successful urban management, particularly wherever public interfaces are involved, require a measure of digital expertise from civil servants?
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other rapidly evolving technologies are already playing a role in urban governance (e.g., in train queuing, the management of autonomous vehicle systems, management of private sector distribution networks, among other arenas). What new competencies will AI and IOT require of civil servants and do we currently provide the ethical education necessary to manage systems that fundamentally relocate human agency?

Digital Society and Regulatory Structures

  • How do we understand the subjects and objects of emerging regulatory structures of the digital society across jurisdictions and cultures?
  • Do new regulatory modes challenge, develop or elude cultural ethos (e.g. right to be forgotten, individual versus group protections of privacy or rights generally)?
  • How do we understand new forms of societal participation in the digital society emerging (e.g. internet regulation). Does it accord with broadening trends in administrative/ public law/ international law cultures?
  • How has the digital society evolved definitions of the transnational or global in regulatory terms? How does the digital society challenge formulations of actors beyond the State?
  • How are the modalities of legal online education emerging in the digital society?

There are of course other possibilities and we welcome proposals that explore ideas not listed here. With this note, we seek three kinds of proposals:

  1. Proposals for seminars that will culminate in programming at the Symposium. We use the seminar loosely; instructional formats could range from traditional seminars to community projects, to creation of videos, games, or software applications, to photo essays. The idea is to engage students online, prior to f2f Symposium, in relevant readings and perhaps preliminary work with one another.
  2. Proposals for papers that can ground intensive faculty-led collaborative work in St. Petersburg. WC2 has been clear that the first purpose of our symposia is to serve as a platform for student learning, but faculty research is also important. Papers that can anchor the generation of papers around shared themes leading to publication in special issues of journals or perhaps an edited volume would be welcome.
  3. Proposals to extend the university-community interface – we employed the metaphor of the “service desk” – developed last year in Toronto. The culminating student project at Ryerson was the development of a service desk that would sit in between the university and the community, helping the university reach beyond the campus and helping those not part of the university community per se avail themselves of university resources. One problematic that we might explore in 2019 is whether the digital university is more permeable, inclusive and egalitarian than a solely f2f university.
Mr. Nikita Golovin, Deputy Head of International Office
Mrs. Ekaterina Belyaevskaya, Head of the International Academic Cooperation Department
29, Polytechnicheskaya Str., Research Building, 195251, St.Petersburg, Russia
10:00 - 18:00

Important Deadlines

deadline for registering with visa support for all passport holders except those with EU (except UK passport holders who should register by 15 May), China (and Hong Kong), Japan, India, and Iran passports
deadline for overall registration without visa support
deadline for registration with visa support for participants, holders of EU (except UK), China (and Hong Kong), Japan, India, and Iran passports


To arrange your travel to the Symposium, you may need a formal invitation from the conference host. This is particularly important for those of you who will have to apply for the Russian visa. The main purpose of your visit to Russia will be to attend the scientific conference, and we expect that Common Humanitarian visa type will be required. Please consult with the visa section of the Russian Embassy or Consulate what type of visa is required for you and the persons who will accompany you in this travel. Since the visa application procedure may take considerable time, we strongly encourage you to make every effort to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and start the process as soon as possible.

Depending on your citizenship, different procedures for issuing the invitation (visa support letter) apply as described below.

  1. Passport holders of CIS, Israel, South Korea, Brazil, and other countries with visa-free entry to Russia do not have to apply for the entry visa. You can still let us know if you need a formal invitation to attend the conference for your travel arrangements.
  2. Preparing the invitations for holders of EU (except UK), China (and Hong Kong), Japan, India, and Iran passports will take at least 1-week time (plus the time needed to deliver the hard copy by mail if needed). Please clarify with the Russian Embassy or Consulate in the country of your residence whether the scanned copy of the invitation is sufficient or you need the hard copy.
  3. Preparing the invitations for holders of all other passports will take at least 5-week time (plus the time needed to deliver the hard copy by mail). In this case, you will almost certainly need the hard copy of the invitation for your visa application pack.

The above times do not include the time needed for your visa application. Please refer to the official websites of the Russian Embassy or Consulate in the country of your residence to obtain the information needed to prepare and submit your application, to pass the interview (if appropriate), and to get your passport stamped with the visa. Please do not underestimate the actual time needed to complete the procedure.

To obtain the formal invitation, which will be required to apply for Russian visas (visa support letters), you have to provide the following information.

  1. A good quality scan of the front page (with your photo) of your passport or any other appropriate travel document. Please ensure that all the information on the page is included and clearly readable. Your passport must be valid at least half-year period after your intended departure from Russia.
  2. Full name and address of your employer, your position in the organization. Students should provide the full name and address of the university and indicate the student status (including PhD).
  3. Country and place of birth. Please ensure that the place of birth is indicated along with the country.
  4. Country and city of visa application (location of the Russian Embassy or Consulate to which you submit your visa application).
  5. The time period of your intended stay in Russia (arrival and departure dates).

Please include all of the above-listed data in the invitation inquiry form provided on the registration form.

Once again, we encourage you to inquire about the invitation and to start your visa application process as soon as you can. For further details on how to apply for the Russian visa, please refer to the specific requirements, which are applicable to your country of residence, available at the official website of the Russian Embassy or Consulate.

Please include all of the above-listed data in the INVITATION INQUIRY FORMand send it TOGETHER WITH SCAN-COPY OF YOUR PASSPORT to us by e-mail

Explore St. Petersburg

As a Russian largest city in the North-Western region, St. Petersburg is a global center for business, finance, arts and culture and is dedicated to being a model of sustainable development. St. Petersburg is famous for its elegant and beautiful views and is considered to be a cultural capital of Russia.

St.Petersburg is a cultural hub with immense historical significance, St. Petersburg has much to offer, from museums to art exhibitions, from theater productions to concerts and festivals.

Useful links about St. Petersburg:


The Symposium will be held on campus at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU). The campus is located in the north of the city


Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University will do its best to reserve accommodation options for participants near the university campus and in the city. These options cater to a variety of budgets.

For students it is available an option to stay on campus in students’ dormitories (see the list of recommended hotels bellow.

Due to a high-season time at St. Petersburg all accommodation options will be limited and provided on «first come – first get» terms.

For students’ dormitories, please, contact University by the contacts provided bellow. For all other accommodation option, please, visit hotels’ websites for reservation.

List of recommended hotels

Hotel «Sputnik»

36 Toreza prospect
Metro «Ploschad Muzhestva» or Metro «Polyteknicheskaya»
(Distance to SPbPU 1,5 km)

Discount code: WC2-2019

The number of rooms with discount is limited

wrappixel kit

Hotel «Orbita»

4 Nepokoryonnyh prospect
Metro «Ploschad Muzhestva»
(Distance to SPbPU 1,3 km)
wrappixel kit

Hotel «Moskva»

2 Alexander Nevskiy Square
Metro «Ploschad Aleksandra Nevskogo »
(Distance to SPbPU 12,1 km)

Discount code: WC2-2019

The number of rooms with discount is limited.

wrappixel kit

Hotel «Ambassador»

5-7 Rimskiy-Korsakov prospect
Metro «Sennaya/Sadovaya/ Spasskaya»
(Distance to SPbPU 12,1 km)

Hotels Station
***, ****

9 Hotels in the City centre

Discount code: Polytech2019

The number of rooms with discount is limited.

Student Accommodations
(on-campus hostels)

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SPbPU student’s dormitory
option for students

28 Grazhdanskiy prospect
Metro «Polyteknicheskaya»

For enquiries, please, e-mail to:

Walking distance, 5-10 minutes

The number of rooms is limited

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SPbPU student’s dormitory
option for students

67/1 and 67/2 Lesnoy prospect
Metro «Lesnaya»

For enquiries, please, e-mail to:

Distance to SPbPU 3,6 km

The number of rooms is limited