First Life. A geo-social network to support participation in urban design.
Lucia Lupi, Alessia Calafiore, Alessio Antonini, Stefania Buccoliero, Luigi Sanasi, Claudio Schifanella, Guido Boella
Univeristy of Torino
FirstLife (http://www.firstlife.org/) is a civic social network, developed by the “Social Computing” research group of the Department of Computer Science, University of Turin. It is a civic media, since it explicitly conceives users as active players in the production of social knowledge to innovate and renovate the city. It offers a geo-referenced representation of crowdsourced data, by using a map-based interface where users can add places, events, news and stories as well as starting discussions about interested areas of change. Users can create open and public groups linked to a place in order to promote collaboration between citizens and strengthen social cohesion in the real world. First Life has been involved in an ongoing project “Riscopri Risorse” that will be presented as case study. The project is structured in four phases throughout two years to progressively activate the local communities of six municipalities in the province of Turin in micro-regeneration actions. The first phase, from September 2016 to November 2017, involved over 70 classes of 30 schools ranging from primary to high schools, with about 60 teachers, a group of public officers in each city, two trainers and facilitators of the University of Turin and four members of the promoter charity. During this phase, the methodology to integrate of a digital mapping tool in the regeneration process has been co-designed with teachers and facilitators in order to define use patterns based on the platform functionalities and common guidelines to map public spaces and commons and analyse these places. From November 2016 to January 2017, each school developed a proposal for a selection of public spaces in each municipality, with a final validation by the municipal technical officers, and a final selection of one place to be collaboratively regenerated. The project will continue from March 2017 to June 2018 documenting the regeneration process through the platform, and opening the participation to families and new local actors operating in the project areas.