Civic media and technologies of belonging: Where digital citizenship and ‘the right to the city’ converge

Alevizou, Giota (2020). Civic media and technologies of belonging: Where digital citizenship and ‘the right to the city’ converge. International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics, 16(3) pp. 269–290.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/macp_00029_1

Abstract

This article contributes to an emerging field of ‘urban communication’ research and its intersections with civic culture and 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 platforms, akin to civic media, to advocate an approach to urban planning that also recognizes 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 urban rights enacted and the visions expressed during an eight-week consultation period. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative metrics from the official and alternative digital platforms inviting consultation around the community-led planning application, the article offers insights about the co-construction of space, and the effect that the particular site had in unearthing wider enactments of ‘the right to the city’ and affective belonging, alongside struggles against threats of displacement. By offering these insights, the study contributes to a better understanding of the digital mediation of belonging through space/place and what this means for urban citizenship. Looking beyond processes of urban planning, this understanding seeks to contribute to wider debates of urban citizenship, often expressed at the intersection of urban rights, digital citizenship and virtual reality.

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