Authors: Maria Lillà Montagnani
The article focuses on a specific way of creating value for local communities, which occurs by the creation and online dissemination of user–generated content – or better “citizen–generated content” – via online platforms dedicated to urban tourism. These platforms, among which TripAdvisor is the most known example, are not only the virtual expression of the physical space of a smart city – or better of the “sharing practices” of those “smart citizens” that post the content on these platforms – but they also express a different virtual space centered on community engagement as well as on the relational networks that it generates. These platforms envisage models of sharing that are commercial but also communal, encouraging trust and collaboration. As a matter of fact, ratings, comments and suggestions made by other users are perceived as more reliable because they are supposed to be expressed by an unbiased source, more humanly close to prospective visitors. Moreover, the ubiquitous computing generated by the spread of smart devices has amplified the possibility of interactive dynamics: nowadays users act in a “public space” that amounts to a continuously open communication channel, and that allows them to maintain and strengthen ties with the community they belong to as well as foster exchanges with other communities. The complex ecosystem created by these platforms has caused new regulatory issues in several respects, including that of copyright law that will be herein the main legal dimension considered.
Keywords: smart cities; copyright; community engagement; user–generated content