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Paper long abstract:
Cities are often portrayed as engines of economic growth, attracting domestic rural to urban migrants, international migrants and forcibly displaced people in search of jobs, livelihoods, protection, safety, new freedoms and wellbeing. Yet, a well-established body of literature on migration and migrant mobilities, and an emerging literature on urban displacement and urban wellbeing have significant blind spots in relation to space and place (Collins, 2011; Hondagneu-Sotelo, 2017; Sanyal, 2014). Some studies have focused on migrant placemaking, to show its contribution to urban transformations by spatially organising, building, attaching meaning, deriving feelings of wellbeing and belonging, re-generating identity and community (Gill, 2010; Wortham-Galvin, 2008), to innovate and reconfigure cities from within (Hall, 2015). Whereas this literature is cognizant of the importance of digital technology to instrumentally enable migration processes, it does not consider placemaking efforts in physical space in relation to its counterpart in digital spaces. In parallel, studies on migration and digital technology underline the importance of mobile phones, and the use of online platforms and social media for navigating journeys, exchanging information on uncertain passage and arrival cities (Gillespie et al., 2018; Peile and Híjar, 2016), yet no connections to physical placemaking are made. Accordingly, this presentation adopts a virtual ethnography to explore linkages between Latino migrants' placemaking activities in digital spaces and physical spaces in London. We argue that digital placemaking is an integral part of relational, multi-scalar placemaking, and generative of material, relational and subjective wellbeing outcomes.
Researching the post-pandemic city through digital ethnography