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Urban regeneration within the zone of possibility in citizen led ‘hybrid cities’

Cook, John; Lander, Rik; Santos, P


John Cook

Richard Lander
Senior Lecturer in User Experience and Interface

P Santos


The work reported in this paper explores the development of citizen led ‘hybrid cities’ in which social web technologies mediate urban regeneration in what we term the Zone of Possibility. The term ‘hybrid cities’ is not new and has been used in a similar context to this paper’s research focus by de Almeida [1] and by Zilvetti and Brevi [2]. We are building on this work, but for us the focus is to design for what we call the Zone of Possibility or ZoP. Helping hybrid city citizens participate with each other in groups (a Zone) calls for orchestrating social supports (via navigation and bridging aids) so that citizens can benefit from the ideas of others (Possibility).
Designing for the ZoP needs to take into account the ‘reality’ of formal and informal social structures in terms of power and control in an activity system, i.e. the role we adopt or are positioned into in terms of structural relations of the power and control in institutional, cross-institutional and cross-city settings. What are the rules? How do I play the game? Who are the players? We have developed various meta-design principles to guide the development of our social web technologies. For example see Respect Learners' Zone of Possibility at The example of Hybrid Stokes Croft is given as an example to illustrate the above key concepts. Hybrid Stokes Croft (HSC) is a Digital Public Space [3] that uses the concept of the ZoP to allow the people of the inner city neighborhood of Stokes Croft in Bristol to share their experiences of self-driven economic, social and cultural regeneration. HSC acts as a venue for the presentation of examples and discussion of urban regeneration; showing how an unrecognized corner of a city can be constructed from the street up. Users may consume the media, comment on it or make their own media to develop an argument or propose an idea.
1. de Almeida, C. M. (2014). New Sensibilities in the Hybrid City. In Proceedings of The Mediated City Conference, London 01 – 03 April, 2014.
2. Zilvetti, M. & Brevi, F. (2014). Moving in the digital era. Innovative mobility for responsive urban spaces. In Proceedings of The Mediated City Conference, London 01 – 03 April, 2014.
3. Digital Public Spaces,, accessed September 2015.


Cook, J., Lander, R., & Santos, P. (2016, April). Urban regeneration within the zone of possibility in citizen led ‘hybrid cities’. Paper presented at Digital-Cultural Ecology and the Medium-Sized City, Bristol, UK

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name Digital-Cultural Ecology and the Medium-Sized City
Conference Location Bristol, UK
Start Date Apr 1, 2016
End Date Apr 3, 2016
Acceptance Date Dec 5, 2015
Publication Date Apr 21, 2016
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords urban regeneration, hybrid cities, citizen led
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : Digital-Cultural Ecology and the Medium-Sized City