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Social Networks in Inner-City Apartment Complexes and the Implications for the Residential Architecture of Public Space

conference contribution
posted on 2023-03-02, 02:45 authored by Marcus Foth, Paul Sanders
The development of more and more compact cities draws critical attention to the design and architecture of apartment buildings and their role as elemental components of urban renewal. At the same time, new media and information and communication technologies afford networked individualism and emerging social formations that require a re-conceptualisation of the online vs. offline dichotomy. Public space is becoming a complex hybrid in which members of what Watters calls ‘urban tribes’ traverse seamlessly between cyberspace and physical space. This paper introduces an Australian case study of residents in three inner-city apartment complexes. Observations and interview results are used to illustrate the interaction between residents and public space, their friends, and their neighbours. The discussion of these findings highlights that there are unfulfilled promises and unmet challenges in the design and architecture of both virtual and physical public space to support the communication and interaction needs of urban dwellers. We suggest three areas of engagement: serendipitous encounters between residents, sociocultural animation of neighbourhoods, and digital augmentation of public space.



keywords: social networks, residential architecture, public space, networked individualism, urban renewal, digital augmentation

Publication classification

EN.1 Other conference paper


Alessandro Aurigi, Peter Besselaar, Fiorella Cindio, Gary Gumpert, Susan Drucker

Title of proceedings

Digital Cities 4: the Augmented Public Space. 2nd International Conference on Communities and Technologies

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