A Research Design to Build Effective Partnerships between City Planners, Developers, Government and Urban Neighbourhood Communities

Marcus Foth, Barbara Adkins

Abstract


Communities of place feature prominently in new urbanism movements and in master-planned inner-city developments that result from urban renewal. This paper’s point of departure is the stark contrast between the widespread use of mobile and ubiquitous media and communications technology by urban dwellers on the one hand and endemic forms of urban alienation and the disappearance or non-existence of urban neighbourhood community identity on the other. Networked individualism introduces challenges to conventional understandings of ‘place’ and ‘public places’. It opens up opportunities to build partnerships between architecture, city planning and urban studies in order to re-conceptualise the understanding of community and neighbourhood planning in the light of new media and network ICTs. However, such a re-conceptualisation has not been achieved yet because of a lack of theoretical and practical understandings of the freedom and constraints and the social and cultural meanings that urban dwellers derive from their use of place-based ICT systems. The paper argues that in order to gain a better understanding of the continued purpose and relevance of urban neighbourhood communities in metropolitan areas and their changing role within a network society, the scope and structure of the communicative ecologies and social networks created and maintained by residents in urban residential real estate needs to be investigated empirically to inform city design and planning. The paper discusses a cross-disciplinary research design to build effective partnerships between city planners, developers, government, education and urban neighbourhood communities.

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The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441