What is “public space” in a time of social distancing? A panel of entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, and researchers will consider this and other aspects of online civic engagement in a web discussion on Tues., May 5.

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What is “public space” in a time of social distancing? A panel of entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, and researchers will consider this and other aspects of online civic engagement in a web discussion on Tues., May 5, 5 p.m.

Details on viewing and participating in the event, organized by New York University’s Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK), are available on the institute's web site.

The conversation marks the launch of “The Shift,” a series housed at IPK, which will broadly explore the social implications of the current shift of public life to digital space in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The inaugural episode on May 5 will examine how we develop digital forms of public space as much of our social life moves online and how this shifts our sense of community: What is the role of public space in society? What can public space do (and not do)? What do we lose when we lose physical public space, and how do people make up for that in the digital realm?

The discussion will address these questions by exploring how vital public spaces are enacted virtually--such as the library, the park, the street--looking at what makes these spaces civically useful in both their physical and their digital form and asking what we can and must learn from this for a post-COVID-19 world.

The event will feature: NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg, director of IPK and author of Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life; Toni Griffin, founder of Urban Planning and Design for the American City and a professor of practice at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design; Chelina Odbert, executive director of Kounkuey Design Initiative, which she co-founded; Tony Ageh, chief digital officer at the New York Public Library; Eli Pariser, co-director of Civil Signals and author of The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think, and Mona Sloane, an adjunct faculty member at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and a fellow at NYU’s Alliance for Public Interest Technology, who will moderate the session.

The series is supported by Civic Signals, the Knight Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council.

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