YOUrban: social media & performativity in urban environments (completed)

YOUrban explores how social media may be used in an urban context.

About the project

Three intertwined cases - STROLL, OVERLAY and PLAYUR - form an interdisciplinary and multiperspective research design.

STROLL investigates innovations in community-driven urban social media on the situated meaning of the every day by means of mobile urban probes and narratives enriched by the humanities.

OVERLAY examines via social media the polyvocal discourses of urban change by multiple stakeholders in a major waterfront development project in the ‘mediational city’. In part it employs Origo, an exiting social media service and platform developed in Oslo.

PLAYUR engages in interaction in urban spaces, experimenting with emerging social networking and locational services that facilitate play, annotation of multiple and relational views in narratives of city life and engaged practice.

The concept performativity will be used to connect these three strands, supported by perspectives on cultural planning in urbanism together with sociocultural approaches to interaction and communication design. Overall, we will engage in design-oriented, humanistic research with technologists into related layers of social media; infrastructural - maps, middleware, location awareness, databases, mobile phones, basic support for communities;  interactional – enactment, performance, composition, navigation in mixed realities; social - meaning making, sharing, expressions and impressions.


YOUrban aims to explore how social media may be used in an urban context to challenge the notion that our environment is given, or imposed on us as citizens. Instead YOUrban intends to investigate how social media may be employed to help foster agency and power in both creating and transforming our urban surroundings. We will investigate tools and means to creating engagement and a sense of ownership and responsibility towards our physical, social and cultural world. The project takes the city of Oslo, Norway, as its setting and has the overall goal of applying and reassessing theories and practices of performativity in urban mileus.

Central research questions: How may multi-perspective social media discourses be designed and applied within a variety of urban contexts to enable and motivate participation in our daily lives in cities? How might the design of social media for urban settings be informed by our performative discursive enacments in them?


Research papers and publications, applications, web mediation, 2 PhDs.


Duration: September 2010- December 2013.


Financed through the VERDIKT programme, Research Council of Norway.


Institute of Design (AHO), Insitute of Urbansim and Landscape (AHO), Bengler Media, Faster Imaging.

Related projects


MULTIMO - researching multimodal discourses

Engagement & Communication in Digital Cultural Environments



Published Dec. 14, 2010 6:47 PM - Last modified Aug. 14, 2019 12:51 PM


Project leader: Andrew Morrison


  • Ole Smørdal
  • Idunn Sem
  • Jeremy Toussaint
  • Anthony John Perritano
Detailed list of participants