International workshop „Digitalization, Neighborhood Change and Social Integration“ took place at Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung

Technological innovations bear the potential to alter societal conditions drastically. This is also true at the smaller scale of the urban neighborhood. Some examples include: platform economies like AirBnB that are affecting housing availability and living conditions in neighborhoods, local social networks like that are transforming the way we engage with our neighbors and the dynamic (re)construction of neighborhood images via social media and online real estate brokerages. In many ways, it becomes clear that peoples’ experiences of urban space are increasingly mediated through digital technologies, and their widespread use—in turn—affects neighborhood change, segregation and local social interaction, cohesion and integration.

The workshop aimed to undertake a two-fold exploration into the impact of digitalization on: (1) neighborhood characteristics and dynamics of change, and (2) the ways neighborhoods affect individual attitudes, actions, and social opportunities. The following questions were addressed by presenters:

  • What are the causes and motives behind residents’ use of digital communication technologies in the neighborhood context?
  • Which population groups use these technologies and how do they affect neighborhood life?
  • Do digital technologies help or harm processes of social integration, especially when it comes to ethnic minorities?
  • How do information and communication technologies shape intra-urban mobility patterns, residential segregation and neighborhood stability?
  • How do neighborhood contexts affect the use of digital technologies for local communication?
  • How do digital technologies and new datasets improve our understanding of neighborhood change? How do they relate to existing theory on urban processes?

The workshop organized by Jan Üblacker and George Galster and was funded by the Fritz-Thyssen-Foundation.

Programme and participants

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