In the paper Cottonopolis and Culture, thanks to my co-writer Justin O'Connor's insight, we began to wrestle with Raymond Williams' idea of "structure of feeling". I then stopped being part-time academic and became a full-time designer and stopped formally pursuing that line of enquiry. My interest in 'place' was sublimated instead by sampling it into designs, popular psychogeography, and now this. But I've meant to return to Williams' idea and assess whether it was relevant for the practice of design - particularly if we think there's any currency in really imagining there to be online spaces.
I've not really progressed at all, but I'd be interested if anyone else has experience or knowledge to share here, or feels up to the challenge.
Structure of feeling can be quickly defined as "the distilled residue of the organization of the lived experience of a community over and above the institutional and ideological organization of the society" [further defined here]. This clearly links to looser ideas around psychogeography, and must certainly relate to design. Particularly urban design ... as in, what sense of a community exists and pervades over time? What is immediately discernable about a community within a particular space, based on their repeated interactions and shared understanding over time? How does the space engender these shared histories? And so on. All of those questions would seem to be valid of online communities and spaces too.