3. Spaces of dialogue for active, networked and responsible citizenship

Doreen Massey (2011) claimed space as the dimension of multiplicity: “If time is the dimension of sequence, then space is the space of contemporaneous existence. In that sense, it is the dimension of the social and therefore it is the dimension that poses the political question of how we are going to live together”.

Massey calls this ‘radical simultaneity’, in which stories, ongoing trajectories and multiple voices happen simultaneously. Space is, therefore, composed by relations, practices and interactions imbued with power.

Descriptions of types of space in terms of levels of interactions are frequent in literature, ranging from self-organisation to deliberative/participatory experiments, as well as contested practices and multiple uses, offering generous inputs to planning theory and practice. What emerges is that spaces, places and people need to be reciprocally interconnected through networking and responsible citizenship.

Massey’s concept of space challenges the simultaneity of multiple trajectories displayed in a variety of intertwined existences. It feeds increasing uncertainty about what we mean by 'places' and how we relate to them. At the same time, it triggers a deeper and broader reflection on how to foster spaces of dialogue that can enable contemporaneous co-existences, diversity and social citizenship.

Accordingly, issues like the right to the city, power imbalances, empowerment practices, do-it-yourself urbanism, urban insurgency, social and environmental sustainability and the idea of common goods focus on a certain range of socio-spatial and political issues contributing to enter the debate, feeding democracy.

In radical simultaneity, where some voices are much more powerful and arresting than others, the pursuit of socio-spatial justice becomes urgent.