Open Businessmodellen, Waag, 2023, Ross Sneddon via Unsplash
Ross Sneddon via Unsplash BY-NC-SA

The state of the digital public space

Currently, big tech companies like Meta, Google, and X manage our online world. They control the places where we gather, communicate and exchange information online. Business models of these big companies are built on collecting and selling as much data as possible. For these companies, commercial interest comes before social interest, sometimes with far-reaching consequences: from mass discrimination and threats to manipulation of elections. 

This is why several public and civil society organisations, including Waag Futurelab and PublicSpaces, are working to develop ‘digital public spaces’. A digital public space is an internet platform that enables people to engage in interactions and relationships according to public values. While this description is correct, in practice, the digital public space is a complex concept that deserves more explanation. What do those public values entail? And how do those public values influence the design of the digital public space? This article serves as a brief introduction to the world of digital public spaces and describes what makes a digital space public.

Read the blog in Dutch.


Would you like to share ideas on designing digital public spaces and ways to reclaim the internet from Big Tech?

Come to the PublicSpaces conference on Thursday 6 June and Friday 7 June. Through panels, keynotes, roundtable sessions, lectures, art and culture, we'll work our way towards an internet where we collectively set the rules. 

Check out the programme and order tickets.