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Talk given to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, November 3 2010, outlining social media, online community involvement and physical place-making of real estate/renewal development sites.


  • Building networkedcommunity involvement

    David BarrieCommission for Architecture & the Built Environment

    November 3, 2010

  • We like this

  • and want to square itwith this

  • One route heavily advocatedfor just now is social media

  • What is social media?the peer-to-peer communication

    and user-generated content madepossible through the advent of

    participatory web toolsSource: Kanter, B. & Fine, A.H., The Networked Nonprofit (2010)

  • social media tools

    Conversation starters like blogs,YouTube and Twitter

    Collaboration tools including wikis andGoogle Groups

    Network builders like socialnetworking websites such as Facebook,MySpace and TwitterSource: Kanter, B. & Fine, A.H., The Networked Nonprofit (2010)

  • But why use social mediawhen our lives are

    increasingly trapped inin a closed circle

  • One answer is a proliferationof online markets

  • Audiences & participants:

  • 82% of the population in the U.K. are on the internet 1 in every 4.5mins spent by people online is on social

    networks A new member joins the business-orientated site every second The largest living generation is young people born

    between the years of 1978 and 1992 25% of people who play video and other screen

    games in the USA are over 50Sources: BBC, Neilsen, Kanter/Fine, Knight Foundation

  • Here are some other practicalreasons to bother:

  • people are easy to find online and onmany channels

    talk is cheap serendipity is enhanced online reciprocity online is incredibly easy

  • Some political reasons:

  • we need to

    encourage citizen activism design local plans bottom up support collaborative local platforms give communities more powers cut demand for the state enable low-cost soft regeneration

  • But then theres alsosomething else.

  • failing local markets (empty shops) end of edge-of-centre, residential-led

    urban renewal growth of outsourced public services rise of social enterprise & social

    productivity appetite for mashed-up timelines (Lost)

    & interactive narrative (Seven Days)

  • open source place-making

  • Some web links and sitesthat are worth looking at for

    community organizing

  • useful networking tools

    Meetup - Facebook - Facebook Places - Twitter - Twitter lists - @davidbarrie/speirslocks

  • building community Peckham Power - Groupsnearyou - Hubbub social game -

  • building ideas

    Craftster - Your Freedom - Bing Maps - Bexhill Local Action Plan -

  • sharing the burden

    Wikispaces - Google Docs - Neighborgoods - Kickstarter -

  • sharing knowledge

    Geographically-linked news - -

    Geographically-linked games -

    Oral history -

  • And some uses to date thatlink to the renewal of cities,places and communities:

  • Fix my street - You Choose: Redbridge Conversation 2010:

    Boston Redevelopment Authority - Friends of Redcar Cemetary - Heeley Millennium Park - Wake Green Park - Talk about Local -


  • Different types oflocal websites:

    Civil society networks Local discussion sites Placeblogs Local blogazines Public social spaces Local action groupsSource: Nick Booth, Exploring Hyperlocal, BBC Wesbite, (2010)

  • As in urban renewal, socialmedia is populated by certain

    kinds of individual:

  • instigator evangelist donor spreader happy bystander

  • Reasons why peoplegather and share experiences

    online - according tointeraction designers:

  • Altruism Creativity Validation Affinity Prurience

  • And the most active orinterested users,people who are

  • interested in making new friends keeping up friendships open to succumbing to social pressure

    from existing friends believe in paying it forward

  • Does all of this haveimplications for place-making?

  • Yes

  • A relationship economy Temporary ties Multiple independent groups of friends Loyalty to experience and data, not platform Physical places as passing scenery Physical places that allow you to fulfill a task Swarming & switching

  • Three channels of work

    Strategic entrepreneurship Social entrepreneurship Community entrepreneurship

  • 8 actions1 - Form a Speirs Locks Cultural Improvement District2 - Review administrative contexts of site3 - Turn disused adhesives factory in to low-cost shared workspace4 - Create making and doing light-manufacturing workshops5 - Support urban agriculture in leftover spaces6 - Open up existing premises through programmes of community

    education and involvement7 - Create and run a public use/entertainment programme8 - Create community spaces adjacent to built structures on site

  • Developer as theatricalmanager

  • Aggregated uses

  • Physical space as sovereign real estate Events as transient interrupts Maximise opportunities for users to make

    their own spaces and relationships Theme of doing and making = popular

    idiomatic understanding of site Open-ended occupation Site as catalyst to making markets, rather

    than centre of a battle plan

  • urban apps

  • Seeing everything as a utility

  • Seeing property asan engine of participation

  • David BarrieDavid Barrie & Associates

    project design & delivery - creative/economic planning -public involvement - social ventures

    Blog: http://davidbarrie.typepad.comMail:

    Twitter: @davidbarrie