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Working Paper

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Existing theories of public spaces are outdated because they largely ignore the advent of digital socialization. The revitalization of public spaces such as parks, sidewalks in the new urbanist mold is premised on ideas of public space from the 1950s, before suburban sprawl. However, technology, such as smart phones and social media, have fundamentally changed the way in which all groups now interface with space. This is especially true of immigrants, who exist in multiple spaces, at home and in the new city, at once and maintain these myriad linkages through digital space.

This project presents a critique of proposed revitalization plans of the Italian Market in Philadelphia in the context of existing physical and digital spaces. In 21st century Philadelphia, the demographic reality of immigrant-driven population growth and the technological fact of increased digital socialization, mean that we need to think of the city and urban 'space' as simultaneously local and global, digital and physical. This paper calls for a re-examination of the role of of traditional public spaces in revitalization in light of these changing modes of immigration and socialization.


Philadelphia, Immigration, Digital Space, Physical Space, Italian Market, Internet Radio, Yelp, Code for Philly, Urban Revitalization, Public Space, Philatinos

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



Date Posted: 18 July 2015