RENEWING CITIES AND CITIZENSHIP
Cities are now the globally dominant form of social life. Twenty-first century century cities face a range of new challenges including heightened cultural diversity, new mobilities, intensive commercialization and the urgent need to develop more sustainable modes of urban living. Networked digital media are altering fundamental conditions of city life — the way we communicate with others, organize and collaborate, and the way we negotiate boundaries of place.
Who should enjoy what Henri Lefevbre famously termed ‘the right to the city’? How should this be manifest in the networked city? Do global flows of goods, people and information mean cities are in danger of becoming ‘non-places’? How can inhabitants form and experience attachment to place? Are the old spatial-political models still adequate to describe networked public space?
How might we move beyond the powerful constraints of commercialization and surveillance to enable the inhabitants of a city to better shape the life of a city? To self-organise and appropriate public space, to develop new forms of urban governance and belonging? How might the kinds of practices and models developed in contemporary peer-to-peer cultures translate to urban public space? What are the lines of force and agency that operate in this context?