Marcus Foth, Laura Forlano, Martin Gibbs, Christine Satchell

Web 2.0 tools, including blogs, wikis, and photo sharing and social networking sites, have made possible a more participatory Internet experience. Much of this technology is available for mobile phones, where it can be integrated with such device-specific features as sensors and GPS. From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen examines how this increasingly open, collaborative, and personalizable technology is shaping not just our social interactions but new kinds of civic engagement with cities, communities, and spaces. It offers analyses and studies from around the world that explore how the power of social technologies can be harnessed for social engagement in urban areas. Chapters by leading researchers in the emerging field of urban informatics outline the theoretical context of their inquiries, describing a new view of the city as a hybrid that merges digital and physical worlds; examine technology-aided engagement involving issues of food, the environment, and sustainability; explore the creative use of location-based mobile technology in cities from Melbourne, Australia, to Dhaka, Bangladesh; study technological innovations for improving civic engagement; and discuss design research approaches for understanding the development of sentient real-time cities, including interaction portals and robots.

Foth, M. and Laura Forlano, Martin Gibbs and Christine Satchell. (2011). From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen:Urban Informatics, Social Media, Ubiquitous Computing, and Mobile Technology to Support Citizen Engagement. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


“This well-presented edited book provides an important staging post in our developing understanding of the form and function of the digital city…Building upon the outcome of two research workshops, the contributors begin to lift the lid on issues of citizen engagement with cities in an age of ubiquitous computing. illustrating by using well-drafted international case studies…Overall, the editors have done an excellent job in structuring and formatting sometimes very diverse interdisciplinary subject matter.” —Paul Longley, “Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design”

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