Civic Media & Placemaking: (Re)Claiming Urban & Migrant Rights Across Digital and Physical Spaces

Alevizou, Giota (2020). Civic Media & Placemaking: (Re)Claiming Urban & Migrant Rights Across Digital and Physical Spaces. In: Smets, Kevin; Leurs, Koen; Georgiou, Myria; Witteborn, Saskia and Gajjala, Radhika eds. The SAGE Handbook of Media and Migration. SAGE.



This chapter contributes to an emerging field of ‘urban communication’ research and its intersections with digital citizenship. It does so by presenting a case study of how an activist group in North London’s Tottenham region, co- designed bespoke digital media platform, akin to civic media, to advocate an approach to planning which recognised migrants ’ rights. Conducted as a part of a broader participatory action research project, the study outlined here offers an analysis of the online and offline communicative routes taken, the civic rights enacted, as well as the visions expressed during an eight - week consultation period. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative metrics from the official and alternative digital platforms of consultation around the mediation of a community plan, the chapter offers insights about the co- construction of space, and the effect that a particular site had on unearthing wider processes of ‘symbolic recognition’, ‘affective storytelling’ relating also to aspects of migrant solidarity, urban displacement, as well as associated responses to collective action that have dominated the urban realm in London since 2008. These expressions of belonging through architectural and social space did not only enable the surfacing of narratives of uncertainty and the tensions between migrant traders’ anxieties of displacement and ‘creativity -led’ urbanism; it also helped generate London-wide advocacy networks about the rights to ‘belong’. By offering these insights, the paper contributes to a better understanding of the mediation of belonging through space/place. Looking beyond processes of urban planning, this understanding seeks to contribute to wider debates of urban struggles, often expressed at the intersection of urban rights and digital/social media.

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