Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Urban Connective Action: The Case of Events Hosted in Public Space

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Abstract:  In the past decade, significant transformations have influenced the governance of urban public spaces. There has also been a growth in new public spheres associated with digital media networks, informing and influencing the production and regulation of urban space. In this article, we explore the role of digital and social media as a form of connective action supporting public campaigns about the privatisation and erosion of public space in the Scottish city of Edinburgh. We draw on analysis of Twitter data, interviews and observations of offline events to illustrate how a broad coalition of actors utilise online and offline tactics to contest the takeover of public space, confirming that that the virtual and the physical are not parallel realms but continuously intersecting social realities. Finally, we reflect on the extent to which digital media-enabled connective action can influence the orientation of urban controversies debates and lead to material change in the way urban public space is managed and regulated.

Keywords:  connective action; Edinburgh; festivals and events; public space; urban controversy



© David McGillivray, Severin Guillard, Emma Reid. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.