Photo by Marcus Andreas


Rethinking public spaces.

Exploring the interplay of the analogue and virtual realm and its effects on public and social life in cities

Thursday July 16, 2.30 - 4.00pm CET
Series 3 (July) - Webinar 3   

This webinar is part of the initiative '2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic'.
>>> Read the summary of this webinar


Social media and digital communication are nowadays closely embedded into everyday practices and rapidly transform social and public life. This is particularly true for urban life which increasingly takes place in “hybrid spaces”, where face-to-face and virtual interaction blend. Neighbours who initially met analogue now also use messenger services for communication and organizational purposes, while community groups and local social movements often emerge on digital social networks before establishing new forms of collaboration and appropriating space in the analogue realm. 
However, little is known about the role and implications of ‘hybrid spaces’ for social and public life in times of crisis and beyond. This webinar will critically engage with this phenomenon and explore its effects on community-building, community resilience, participation and democracy.

The webinar will address the following questions:

  • Which digital tools and platforms played a prominent role during the COVID-19 pandemic? For what purpose were they used and by whom? What might be their role in the future?
  • How do digital spaces affect community-building, participation and democracy in the analogue realm and vice versa?
  • What are the wider challenges and potential problems associated with the hybridization of the digital and analogue realm?
  • What does it mean for urban planning, community organization and decision-makers?


Event Managers

Ying Fen Chen & Stephanie Cheung, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong



Luisa Bravo, City Space Architecture & The Journal of Public Space, Italy

Hendrik Tieben, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Architecture, Hong Kong



Astrid Ley, Department of International Urbanism, University of Stuttgart, Germany


Carlos Smaniotto Costa, CeiED Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Education and Development, Universidade Lusófona, Lisbon, Portugal

Franziska Turber, Foresight Consultant, Z_Punkt, Germany

Federico Bastiani, Social Street, Bologna, Italy

Franziska Schreiber, Department of International Urbanism, University of Stuttgart, Germany

Tat Lam, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Architecture, Hong Kong / Founder, CEO, Shanzhai City

Jessica Cheung, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Architecture, Hong Kong / Shanzhai City 



Melissa Permezel, UN-Habitat, Innovation Unit


Q&A with the audience, moderated by Ying Fen Chen, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong




Dr. Carlos Smaniotto Costa

Carlos Smaniotto Costa (PhD) is a Landscape Architect and Environmental Planner. He is professor of Urban Ecology and Landscape Design at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning of Universidade Lusófona, Lisbon (Portugal). Carlos Smaniotto was the chair of the COST Action TU 1306 Cyberparks and the coordinator of the H2020 Project C3Places – both dealing with the opportunities offered by digital technologies for creating more sustainable public spaces. He is editor and chapter author of the book “Neighbourhood & City: Between digital and analogue perspectives”, which promotes discussion and critical thinking on the role of digital technologies in the construction, understanding and experience of urban space, as well as the opportunities and risks brought on by the digital age.


Franziska Schreiber

Franziska Schreiber is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of International Urbanism at the University of Stuttgart, a senior associate at adelphi and a freelance consultant on urban policy and planning. Until recently, she was Head of the Urban Transformation Unit at adelphi – a Berlin-based independent think tank, where she managed research and consultancy projects on urban development and urban policy for local, national and international clients. Her research and writings span the fields of experimental governance, SDG localisation, urban neighbourhoods in the digital age, public space and quality of life, city visioning, and co-production processes. She has conducted expensive research on the impact of digital tools and platforms on social cohesion, participation and democracy in urban neighbourhoods.


Federico Bastiani

Federico Bastiani is administrator of the facebook group “Residenti in Via Fondazza – Bologna” and founder of the website Social Street Italia. A Social Street is a form of neighbourhood community aimed at promoting socialization between neighbours in the same street in order to build relationships, to interchange needs, to share expertise and knowledges, to implement common interest projects, with common benefits from a closer social interaction. In 2013, Federico Bastiani came up with the idea to set up a local Facebook group to get to know and connect with others living in the same street. A few years later, the Social Street phenomenon has turned into a global movement.


Franziska Turber

Franziska Turber works as a foresight consultant at Z_punkt in foresight and consulting projects in the innovation and strategy sector. Her work focuses on urban development, sustainability and service innovation. Franziska Turber holds a Master's degree in Integrated Urbanism & Sustainable Design, a Bachelor's degree in Economics & Business Management and has gained research and work experience in urban innovation in the Middle East and North Africa.


Dr. Tat Lam

Dr. Tat Lam is adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture, Chinese University of Hong Kong. He was trained as an urban designer and architectural researcher, and has practiced in urban design and regional development consultancy in the last 10 years. Dr. Tat Lam is also a social entrepreneur and founder of Shanzhai City. He is interested in researching how technological solutions can empower grassroots communities and social development projects. He developed decentralized solutions for community development finance, community currency, public-private partnership capital deployment, and impact management projects. Over the past months, he was actively engaged in supporting people who lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic and helped building up a community economy using online tools.


Jessica Cheung

Jessica Cheung is an architecture and urban design practitioner and a researcher in Hong Kong, China and New York. After registered as Architect in Hong Kong, she extended her practice to China, and focused on alternative urbanisation in rapid development context of China. She was the Associate of Urbanus Hong Kong office and led multiple urban design and research projects.


Prof. Dr. Astrid Ley

Astrid Ley is a professor for International Urbanism at the Institute for Urban Planning and Design and course director of the international master program Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design (IUSD), University of Stuttgart. She is active in transformative research projects such as the future city labs on sustainable mobility culture and city-space-building as well as the BMBF project WECHSEL on sustainable transformation of urban space. She is actively involved in the discussion on localizing the Sustainable Development Goals and New Urban Agenda and member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. She also works as an urban development consultant and trainer to bilateral and international development agencies.


Melissa Permezel

Melissa Permezel is currently coordinating the new Innovation Unit within UN-Habitat. She is a human geographer who has worked in the sustainable urbanization field for over 10 years and has a particular interest and expertise in social inclusion.



>>> Recorded video of the webinar

All our webinars are recorded and are available on the Youtube channel of our publisher City Space Architecture.
Watch this one and our future videos on City Space Architecture's Youtube playlist '2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic'