Digital Media Facades for Lively Public Spaces: Promoting Dialogue, Participation and Social Innovation in Urban Environments

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksArticle in conference proceedingsResearchpeer-review


  • Alexander Albrecht
Digital façades represent a new medium making its way into urban environments. This medium can affect public life in ways that have yet to be fully understood. Most of these media façades broadcast adverts, but an increasing number of large-scale projects are now also used to screen a broad variety of non-commercial content. On many occasions, these alternative screenings include interactive applications and user-generated contributions (McQuire 2011). The emergence of such “community screens” and “urban social media” may be seen as a promising sign for contemporary city life, as they can address a wide audience and as they tend to be more accessible and less obtrusive than their commercial counterparts. They offer many possibilities for interaction and additional uses of public space, potentially fostering participation, dialog, social innovation, and community building. In this way, they can also enhance the well-being of all communities involved (Osberg, 2003), making urban space more lively, ludic, and experimental and cities more liveable. In this paper, the author explores the relationship among digital media facades, their content, urban space, and public life by looking at different projects and four media façade locations in Berlin, Madrid, São Paulo, and Melbourne. It is argued that non-commercially used digital media façades can have a positive impact on urban space and public life, but that
they do not work well in all types of locations. Certain conditions also have to be met to tap into their full potential and to avoid negative side effects such as light pollution.
Translated title of the contributionDigitale Medienfassaden für lebhaft öffentliche Plätze: Förderung des Dialogs , der Partizipation und soziale Innovation in städtischen Umgebungen
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking Cities Liveable Conference 2015 : Pullman Melbourne on the Park, Melbourne; Conference Proceedings, Peer Reviewed
Number of pages16
PublisherAssociation for Sustainability in Business Inc.
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)978-1-922232-30-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event8th Making Cities Liveable Conference - 2015 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 06.07.201507.07.2015
Conference number: 8