Enabling youth geographies in the digital smart city. An action-research approach

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Some categories of citizens are excluded by most decisions about how to manage, transform and use urban space. Among these weak categories of citizens there are teenagers, who are the object of many specific urban policies, even if they are rarely involved as active subjects of the policy making process. The understanding of the real urban geographies, through bottom-up perspectives, and the engagement of citizens, with participatory policy-making, are central in the smart cities narratives, often associated to the use of ICT technologies. There is often a gap between the city for teenagers – formally planned and ruled by adults – and the city of teenagers, which is actually lived, transformed, occupied and represented by young people. Can the use of ICT fill this gap of knowledge to support participatory policymaking? This contribution presents the methodologies and the results of an action-research project called Teencarto, carried out by the University of Turin and the City Council. The project involved more than 600 teenagers from 16 schools, in a massive process of community mapping aiming at producing a representation of their urban geography. The mapping process has been based on First Life, a map-based social network, which aims at reconnecting digital and real spaces, using cartographic representations and crowdsourcing. The specific relational perspective allowed by the social networking functionalities of the application, specifically redesigned for this project on user-centered principles, favors a real shared representation of urban space.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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