This paper examines the globalization and cosmopolitanism of digital leisure networks through the metaphor of urban parks within global cities. It makes the case for a more inclusive ecology of public leisure space by dismantling conventional boundaries between the park and the city. The article uses the metaphor of global cities to emphasize the hierarchies in digital leisure networks. These global cities function as command centers and as magnets for workers in the industrial, creative, and leisure fields. They also attract privileged groups as well as temporary and migrant laborers. Similarly, not all social networking sites share the same power and influence. While new information and communication technologies are eroding the boundaries between reality and fantasy, the real and the virtual, we should not forget that many of the world’s inhabitants reside in a pre-digital world and constitute an invisible community that has somehow slipped past the database that seemed to be omnipresent. Poverty, rural conditions, criminality, and perversion are accorded scant attention within the larger discourse on globalization through the internet and its leisure counterpart, the recreational social networks. In terms of the metaphor, this neglect would be much like studying cities without noting the vast slums in which as many as half of their inhabitants live, work and play. This paper offers a dialectical and metaphorical journey in order to make conceptualization of the city and the park, leisure and labor, and the virtual and the material richer by encompassing more of the marginal and the diverse.
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© Gaidar Institute Press, 2019.