Our Virtual World and Covid-19

The internet has increasingly become an essential infrastructure that keeps our shared reality running. Throughout the Covid 19 pandemic, the overall use of the internet has spiked: Vodafone’s internet usage has surged by up to 50% in some European countries, Verizon has seen a spike of web traffic by 20%, and gaming has skyrocketed 75% since March of 2020. While the familiar world is put on hold, virtual worlds continue to expand.

Both video conferencing software and online games have become spaces for everyday activity, socialization, work and leisure. How they are designed, and how they foster or hinder social practices and well-being have become more relevant. As a part of the research initiative of the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab, dubbed (un)Real Estate, this article is aimed to overview new forms of social interaction and economic activity happening online during our time in quarantine.

When much of our social lives take place online, it is easy to justify the design of online social spaces and their potential implications and relationships with physical social space. Our discipline is concerned with the built environment and real estate, how it is designed, used, and how its features are translated into social, cultural and economic values. With this study we aim to understand the emergent patterns of relationship between physical and virtual social environments and what they can learn from each other.

For  more please read Our Virtual World and Covid-19 on Medium.