Research Group on Democracy, Space and Technology

The Research Group on Democracy, Space, and Technology (RGDST) is based on the conviction of the centrality of the built environment—the design of buildings, public spaces and services, neighbourhoods, cities and territories—to freedom, public life, and democracy. RGDST complements the other four pillars of the Yan P. Lin Centre by introducing, theoretically, the spatiality of justice, and, pragmatically, opportunities enabled by technology. The built environment is not simply a container for social and political life. It can facilitate citizens’ active participation to public life as well as hindering access. Furthermore, new technological tools—from digitization to the Internet and the whole range of mobile devices and social media—extend physical spaces into the digital realm and open multiple new perspectives on the conventional model of democracy. The digital revolution makes accessible more information to a greater number of people, more easily, and from every conceivable point of view. It allows moreover two-way communications and participation in public dialogue that is essential to producing a vital democracy. RGDST explores how spatial design can engage technology to contribute positively to humanistic goals that respond to societal needs and respect human rights—e.g. the right to privacy, to freedom of movement, to housing, to education, and to public assembly.