, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 133–146 | Cite as

Rat running the G20: collective intelligence for navigating the disrupted city

  • Carlos Estrada-GrajalesEmail author
  • Peta Mitchell
  • Marcus Foth
  • Christine Satchell
Open Forum


Large-scale political or cultural events in urban environments disrupt and challenge city residents in making informed decisions to navigate through restricted zones. However, little research exists that examines how residents successfully overcome the mobility turmoils created by such events. Studies into collective intelligence found socio-technical efforts that can assist citizens in dealing with challenging situations in urban environments. Yet, studies into other forms of collective and network sociality and how those forms are interwoven with the social construction of urban space, are rare. In this paper, we present data from the 2014 G20 Summit held in Brisbane, Australia, to propose that collective-informed decisions made by urban residents in disrupted environments are influenced by particular communication patterns and information access, as well as the production and reproduction of urban imaginaries. An urban exploration as the G20 event unfolded, followed by audio-recorded focus groups, was conducted with 14 participants who mapped their walks through the city using a mobile app and captured images of different locations along their paths. The analysis of these data contributes towards a deeper understanding of collective intelligence strategies for citizens interacting with urban space and gives rise to potential strategies for enhancing socio-spatial engagement of urban residents.


Collective intelligence Sociality Social production of space Urban imaginaries Mobility disruptions Urban informatics 



The authors would like to thank the participants of this study for kindly sharing their viewpoints, as well as the QUT Urban Informatics Research Lab team for the valuable comments on this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Estrada-Grajales
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peta Mitchell
    • 2
  • Marcus Foth
    • 3
  • Christine Satchell
    • 1
  1. 1.Urban Informatics Research LabQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Digital Media Research CentreQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Design LabQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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