Fatemeh Mehrzad


Title: Using social media as a mechanism of exchange to influence, collect, and enable social values for urban regeneration

Supervisors: Carmela Cucuzzella, Pierre Gauthier, Kregg Hetherington

Program: Concordia University, INDI Program

Fatima Mehrzad is a PhD student at Concordia University in the Individualized program. She has a background in Architecture and finished her master’s in Rehabilitation and Reorganization of historical buildings and urban fabrics with a focus on small, abandoned spaces and continued working on different damaged urban areas with various functions. During her masters and work experiences, she realized social issues have not been tackled in urban regeneration practices.

Her current studies focus on how social values can be embedded in projects as it is one of the main challenges in sustainable urban planning so that the urban regeneration projects can be richer and more integrated. Her research has an interdisciplinary approach that combines the body of knowledge which includes the role of social values in urban regeneration process, the role of language and democracy in urban regeneration process, new forms of participatory planning with technology, and using social media as a new landscape for citizens’ engagement. She seeks to identify the potential role of information and communication technology in citizens’ participation as a major contributor toward sustainable urban regeneration. In addition to expanding a method that may empower citizens to be included in urban regeneration projects. To provide the widest possible information of the implemented project, Montreal is selected since it is one of the main social capitals in Canada with numerous regeneration and redevelopment projects. To compare the differences between traditional and contemporary methods, Sainte-Catherine Street project, in the heart of Montreal is chosen. Besides the traditional methods, she uses retrieving data from different social media platforms API, Python code, and text-mining techniques to extract topics from words that users posted on social media. Fatima tries by comparing the existed results of traditional public participation activities of this project and retrieving data from social media to assess the social aspects of this project and eventually for other projects. Her research presents a novel method that can help a better understanding of citizens’ expectations, which eventually helps to improve how social values can be integrated in urban regeneration projects.

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