Spatial citizenship describes the ability of individuals and groups to interact and participate in societal spatial decision making through the reflexive production and use of geo-media (geographic media such as maps, virtual globes, GIS, and the Geoweb). Spatial citizens are lay users who are able to use geo-media to question existing perspectives on action in space (e.g. social rules, spatial planning) and to produce, communicate, and negotiate alternative spatial visions.
Spatial citizenship is an educational approach at the intersection of citizenship education and geography education. Its main theoretical reference points are emancipatory forms of citizenship and the "reflexive appropriation of space".
Spatial citizenship can be distinguished from traditional citizenship education approaches in many respects:
Geographic media (geo-media) are especially important for attaching meaning to places as they clearly connect location, information and visualization. In addition to this, geo-media represents mainly single meanings out of the many that are possible. Nowadays, geo-media have become more and more present in everyday life due to mobile computing in combination with Geoweb applications. For instance, maps on smart phones guide people in their everyday actions, but at the same time limit their opportunities for action by limiting the variety of potential meanings.
Scholars of spatial citizenship understand geo-media as instruments of reflection and communication.
The goal of education for spatial citizenship is to enable learners to achieve a reflexive appropriation of space as the basis for mature action in space by reflective geo-media use and active, reflective geo-media production. Using a broad variety of learning environments orientated toward the learners' needs, the educational approach of spatial citizenship is applicable at different levels from primary to tertiary education. Apart from technological proficiency, spatial citizenship education aims at two additional main competencies:
The European Commission-funded project SPACIT furthers education for spatial citizenship by developing teacher training standards, curricula, and learning modules for teacher education. Another EU-funded project, digital-earth.eu, linked with the SPACIT project by connecting stakeholders using or interested in using geo-media in education. It supported spatial citizenship through the creation of educational standards, the collection of best-practice examples, and the provision of learning environments applicable to teachers in everyday classroom situations. Digital-earth.eu also promoted these concepts related to spatial citizenship in political circles concerned with the development of the Europe2020 goals.
Recognizing neogeography as a site of political formation paves the way toward realizing its broader potential in the development and practice of a critical spatial citizenship. We develop these arguments from a three-year neogeography project conducted with young teens. [...] As an example of neogeography politics conceived as strategy, Gryl and Jekel (2012) argue that collaborative online "geo-media" (which has been termed neogeography in this article) can be sites for the development and practice of critical spatial citizenship. They argue that this critical spatial citizenship depends upon citizens' abilities to engage in "strategic practices" (de Certeau 1984), such as having the cartographic and spatial thinking skills necessary to use geo-media in ways that will be recognized by policymakers or other citizens and to use these platforms to disseminate their own spatial narratives or challenge those put forth by others.
What happens to citizenship when the nation and the state are no longer assumed to be the inevitable starting points from which politics is defined? This article considers how a refusal of the nation as political community and a questioning of the state as guarantor of rights and responsibilities reconfigure our understandings of citizenship.
Consequently, every citizen can produce own spatial narratives, and can communicate and negotiate them with others in fluent web communities (Closs Stephens & Squire 2012). This links to concepts of emancipated citizenship education (e.g. Bennett, Wells & Rank 2009; Mitchell & Elwood 2012) aimed to challenge existing frameworks of rules, referring to an ideological approach that considers power relations and divergent interests in society as driving forces.
The preponderance of school-based civic education programs reflects traditional paradigms of dutiful citizenship (DC) oriented to government through parties and voting, with citizens forming attentive publics who follow events in the news. The authors expand upon these conventional learning categories by identifying additional civic learning opportunities that reflect more self-actualizing (AC) styles of civic participation common among recent generations of youth who have been termed digital natives. Their AC learning styles favor interactive, networked activities often communicated through participatory media such as videos shared across online networks.