Social Media and Urban Space in Teheran

Dissertation project - Alireza Taherifard


Social media plays an important role particularly in the societies with socio-political repressions and restrictions. Among the most popular social networks, the significance of Image-based platforms is due to the visuality that facilitates close connections with spatial experiences and activities. Using image-based social media has apparently brought new habits and patterns of behavior into the urban culture and influenced the use and experience of the urban space. The intent of this research is to investigate, by conducting in-depth interviews, field observations, and analysis of media contents, how the use of photo and video sharing media (in particular, Instagram) has been changing the urban experience and activities in the city of Tehran. This research attempts to answer the following questions; how does using these media help people compensate for the limitations and deficiencies faced in the urban space? What are the activities that people cannot do openly because of social restrictions, but they can bypass by the help of Instagram? What are the new habits that are brought into the urban culture by using these media? How does Instagramming help express and shape individual and social identities in the urban context? How has Instagramming affected people’s urban activities and experiences (e.g., social interactions, events and movements, social awareness, love, business, and acts of protest)? How is photo and video sharing changing the public and private concepts and spatial boundaries? How has the organization of urban knowledge changed by using these media?