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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

Contactless Sociability and Hybrid Communities of Place


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Credit: Getty Images

Ezio Manzini is founder of Desis Network.

What will the world be like after the COVID-19 crisis? It will certainly be different. But how?

In Italy, the first days after the issuance of the "all at home" decree, we all saw flash mobs of people on the balconies: driven by the desire to feel less isolated, they appeared on their balconies to sing and play together. They are more than a moving expression of humanity. They indicate one possibility: that of inhabiting a hybrid physical-digital space.

This same possibility emerged in (numerous though less flashy) other initiatives. They are examples of a contactless sociality, which solves problems using the network and physical proximity. A sociality cultivating a network of relationships that, after the crisis, could evolve into hybrid communities of place. That is, communities capable of living in both the physical and the digital space.

From Desis Network
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