Social Street Phenomenon: An Innovative Answer to Sociality Need and Urban Regeneration

Saturday, 21 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Niccolò MORELLI, University of Bologna, Italy
This abstract is based on the result of a 3 year research carried out by the Observatory on Social Street research group and on my ongoing doctoral research project in order to observe, analyze and check the evolution of the Social Street phenomenon. The aim of this contribution is to give a descriptive portrait of such emerging phenomenon, drawing on qualitative data gathered by empirical research. At the moment, there are more than 455 Social Street worldwide. Social Streets are defined as “streets where neighbors aim to create or re-create proximity sociality, using Facebook as communication tool”(C. Pasqualini, 2016).

Thus far, the Social Street phenomenon has not been a widely researched topic, with the tiny exception of social street in the context of technology and social networks. The study of this phenomenon, both locally and internationally, has elucidated the diffusion of Social Street in urban metropolis as well in smaller contexts. Social Street are inclusive and potentially accessible to everyone, and they are also able to create social and technological innovation. Social Streets take care of social control, and about information, they participate to events that occurs in the neighborhood, promote sociality, take care of common goods of the city, especially in the neighborhood context.

In the presentation, I would like to focus on three case studies: Milan (71 Social Streets), Bologna (56 Social Streets) and Rome (33 Social Streets), showing common features and differencies in activities and spread of this phenomenon.

The research, based on the Mixed Methods Research Theory (Burke Johnson, J. Onwuegbuzie, A. Turner, April 2007), has investigated the Social Street phenomenon with on-line surveys, qualitative interviews to Social Street founders and ethnographic (and web ethnography) observations in the Social Street activities.