I took the opportunity to consider how technology is transforming theÂ relationship betweenÂ community and urban place in a recent contribution to the Symposium section of the journal City & Community. Here is the abstract:
The sources of big data of most interest to urban social researchers arise from the adoption of digital information and communications technologies (ICTs)â€”especially Internet-connected smartphones and computersâ€”by city residents themselves for nearly all aspects of economic and social life. As much as might be learned from this new data, they also reflect broader changes in the nature of urban community. ICTs are not only loosening ties among residents and their neighbors, but also enabling urban residents to remain deeply connected to places regardless of where they live. These trends promise to have profound consequences for local civic participation, since it increases the number and variety of interested stakeholders for any given place. The comment concludes by observing that since ICTs mediate urban life for many residents, researchers should explore the myriad ways they shape cities.