Research Fellow
Cardiff University

Igor Calzada has been a Research Fellow at WISERD since January 2021. In addition to this, he is Senior Research Affiliate at the University of Oxford, where since 2012, he has been Senior Researcher conducting comparative, interdisciplinary, and international research at COMPAS, SAME, Department of Politics and IIRR including: (i) Urban Transformations ESRC Programme; (ii) Future of Cities Programme (comparing eight city-regions through ‘Benchmarking City-Regions’ research programme funded by Ikerbasque – Basque Foundation for Science, and the RSA – Regional Studies Association); (iii) EU-H2020-Smart Cities and Communities-Replicate project; (iv) EU-Marie Curie project comparing international smart city cases.

In addition, and more recently (2019-2021), he has been Senior Scientist at the European Commission, DG JRC, Digital Economy Unit and Centre for Advanced Studies, in Italy, working on Digital Transformations, Digital Rights, Platform and Data Co-operatives, and AI. He also serves as Senior Adviser in Digital Transformation in Urban Areas for UN-Habitat’s People-Centred Smart Cities Flagship Programme.

Over the last 20 years, he has worked in several HEIs: University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (UK), Vrije Universiteit in Brussels (BE), Aston University in Birmingham (UK), University of Nevada (USA), Ikerbasque, University of the Basque Country, Deusto University, and Mondragon University (Spain). He completed his PhD in Social Innovation by the University of Mondragon and University of Nevada between 2008-2011. His thesis, entitled ‘Towards City-Regions? Basque Country, Dublin, and Portland Comparative Cases’ suggests a systemic framework to compare city-regions from the social innovation perspective. He achieved his MBA in 2000 by the University of Deusto.

During his academic career, he has achieved the following fellowships and award: Doctoral award by Caja Madrid Foundation (2008-2009); Postdoctoral Fellowship by Ikerbasque (2012-2014); Early Career Grant by the RSA (2015); Visiting Fellowship by Vrije Universiteit Brussel (2016). He is an active member of the RSA and since 2017, he is an RSA Fellow (FeRSA).

Outside academia, in the past, he has been director in the public sector, in the Basque regional government and in the private sector, working for a decade in the well-known co-operative experience called Mondragon Co-operative Corporation.


His research draws on urban, digital, and political transformations affecting citizenship from the critical/radical social innovation perspective. His most recent book Smart City Citizenship (Elsevier, 2021) focuses on the present and future techno-political post-COVID-19 challenges of citizenship in AI and data-driven global people-centred smart city-regions by paying particular attention to platform and data co-operatives. Broadly, his main research interest revolves around how digital transformation processes driven by AI disruptions are altering techno-political and democratic conditions of data governance models for the emergence of new algorithmic citizenship regimes in (smart) cities and regions in Wales, the UK, and Europe.

Particularly at WISERD, he develops a research portfolio stemming from his main project:

  1. 1. New Emerging Citizenship Regimes: Pandemic (COVID-driven), Algorithmic (blockchain-driven), Liquid (digital rights-driven), Metropolitan (Foundational Economy-driven), and Stateless (devolution/Radical Federalism-driven), by conducting case studies respectively in Tallinn, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Bilbao.

In addition to two additional research projects:

  1. 2. Benchmarking City-Regions: Basque Country, Scotland, Catalonia, Iceland, Liverpool/Manchester, Portland, Dublin, and Oresund; forthcoming monograph via Routledge, Regions and Cities Series.
  2. 3. Platform/Data Co-operatives and Digital Rights: By engaging with local and regional stakeholders through establishing a digital standpoint based on the foundational economy to better influence digital strategy and policy in Wales onwards.

He is currently member of the following journals’ editorial advisory boards:


For a full list of his publications, please visit his Cardiff University profile.

See Igor's publications

New Emerging Citizenship Regimes
New Emerging Citizenship Regimes explores five citizenship ideal types (Pandemic, Algorithmic, Liquid, Metropolitan, and Stateless) stemming from critical/radical social innovation perspective by employing fieldwork action research in six specific city-regional cases. COVID
Research Team:
Igor Calzada (Cardiff University), Ian Rees Jones (Cardiff University), Kevin Morgan (Cardiff University)
Journal Articles
The Right to Have Digital Rights in Smart Cities
New data-driven technologies in global cities have yielded potential but also have intensified techno-political concerns. Consequently, in recent years, several declarations/manifestos have emerged across the world claiming to protect citizens’ digital rights. In 2018...
Data & Methods | October 2021
Journal Articles
Data Cooperatives for Pandemic Times
Image Credit: Artwork by James Seibold, Public Domain. Public Seminar Journal When COVID-19 hit populations worldwide, it became clear how deeply data practices are connected to democracy. One recent report, for instance, found a ‘data divide’ highlighting inequalities in...
Data & Methods | April 2021
Books and Book Chapters
Emerging citizenship regimes and rescaling (European) nation-states: algorithmic, liquid, metropolitan and stateless citizenship ideal types
From the Handbook on the Changing Geographies of the State - New Spaces of Geopolitics This chapter examines how state spaces throughout Europe are facing structural tensions as traditional ethnic nationalism increasingly comes into conflict with urban transformations. It...
Books and Book Chapters
Smart City Citizenship
Smart City Citizenship provides rigorous analysis for academics and policymakers on the experimental, data-driven, and participatory processes of smart cities to help integrate ICT-related social innovation into urban life. Unlike other smart city books that are often edited...
WISERD Wales and Basque Country Cooperation
28th September 2021 |
Under the institutional framework of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Welsh and Basque Governments, the ‘Wales & Basque Country Cooperation’ project aims to establish a series of events. At this first online meeting we look...