Digital Spaces: The New Public Domain

When we think about ‘community space’ most of us imagine a park, a plaza, or perhaps a side-walk café or a library. But for most young people today, it is digital, not physical space that is the primary site of work, learning, socializing, and relaxation.

Despite many a cautionary tale about their potential adverse effects, online spaces remain a compelling choice of engagement. These spaces can fairly be characterized as the new (or not so new) ‘public domain’. Yet, digital spaces are under-theorized, poorly understood, and sometimes actively ignored by professionals in traditional fields concerned with community building, planning, policy development, and implementation.

To what degree do the norms and etiquette governing human-to-human interactions apply online? What does it mean to create and participate in a healthy, respectful, vibrant online environment? How can the dangers and pitfalls of online culture be avoided? What great acts of connection and community formation are possible online that are not possible in person? How would we view digital spaces if we imagined them not as parallel to ‘real life’, but as an enriching extension of it?

Join us for a half-day conversation as we engage around these questions in a community-based, participatory way. The event is designed as a Collective Story Harvest, which will feature a number of stories about positive experiments in supporting pockets of goodness in digital spaces to enrich community life. All participants will be thoroughly involved in sharing and making meaning out of this collection of stories, with the goal of increasing the capacity and sophistication of our campus population in digital space.

Topics include:

  • Policy and other institutional responses to cyberbullying
  • Resolving disputes that emerge online
  • Strategies for moderating and facilitating productive dialogue in discussion forums
  • Role of social media in First Nation and remote communities
  • Cutting edge methods in online engagement in planning processes
  • Navigating the tension between personal and professional brand
  • Possibilities and critical issues in Massive Open Online Courses

Date and time: 10am – 1pm, March 20
Location: Lillooet Room, IK Barber Library

Free but registration required as space is limited and lunch is provided.

Let us know you’ll be there!

This event is organized by the instructor and students of PLAN 595, a graduate level course in facilitation and conflict resolution at the School of Community and Regional Planning, in partnership with the Equity and Inclusion Office.