Territory as media and social media as territory
How can planners find within social media new spontaneous ways through which people imagine, represent and socially produce a territory? This is what I have investigated in a peripheric neighborhood of Rome, trying to highlight how, through the acknowledgement of digital habitat embedded in a territory, it is possible to understand citizens' narration and hopes for their territory, as well as to find new ways to enhance participatory processes. I investigate how the habitat developed through a daily and routine use of mobile technologies of communication could make emerge new action spaces. I have identified insurgent democratic practices and new ways of citizens' engagement with their own city political issues, given a recurring distrust regarding official and established politics. Hence, since physical territory is a media of a diverse range of social relationships, also social media have become a portion of that territory where people can develop debates and conflicts regarding "major" themes and the image they would like to build for their territory. If researchers and planner accept that these contradictory and emotional digital places are in fact new portions of territory, alternative imaginations of space can be identified, generating new forms of collective appropriation of urban space.
Social Media, Social production of space, Participatory processes, Ethnography