Sunday, February 18, 2007

My new blog

I'm starting a new blog... I've become more interested in sustainability and how ICT can contribute to sustainable cities over the last year or so. The new blog will try to develop these ideas, and collect applications and examples. It's called ICT for Sustainable Cities (does what it says on the tin...). I hope to be a bit more assiduous about updating it than this one..! Come and check it out!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Return to the blog...

Following a couple of enquiries, I've been thinking about resurrecting this blog... in the meantime I've taken advantage of a handy new (well new to me) del.ic.ious feature where my links appear on this blog. Yes, this is the lazy person's answer to providing blog content, but I do update my links regularly so there might be some value in it for somebody... and it saves me writing anything right now...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New report: The Strength of Internet Ties

Thanks to ce-more for pointing me to a new study from The Pew Internet & American Life Project called The Strength of Internet Ties. Authored by Jeffrey Boase and Barry Wellman of the University of Toronto and John B. Horrigan and Lee Rainie from the Pew Internet Project, the report states that

The internet and email aid users in maintaining their social networks and provide pathways to help when people face big decisions.... Our evidence calls into question fears that social relationships — and community — are fading away in America. Instead of disappearing, people’s communities are transforming: The traditional human orientation to neighborhood- and village-based groups is moving towards communities that are oriented around geographically dispersed social networks. People communicate and maneuver in these networks rather than being bound up in one solidary community. Yet people’s networks continue to have substantial numbers of relatives and neighbors — the traditional bases of community — as well as friends and workmates.

Some useful material for the Future Cities debate. I wonder what the spatial implications of this are. More time spent engaging with people who live overseas to the detriment of more local ties? Or would those ties have sprung up anyway? Maybe being able to maintain ties with friends and family who are far away makes it possible to live apart from them? It's not straightforward.

Also, an interesting article from Will Davies in this month's Prospect magazine entitled Digital Exuberance. My comments here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Google Earth with Time and Sound

Thought-provoking post over on the excellent cityofsound blog* about extending Google Earth with time and sound. The idea is that you could scroll through time, looking at how a city changed through the centuries. Then you could also extend this with the sounds of the city by area, or through time. Really beautiful idea. I hope someone does it! Read the full post here. Also lots of interesting comments.

*I named my blog before I found out about his, honest!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Welcome Canadians!

I notice there's been nearly 70* of you visiting this blog today. Glad you are interested! Could anyone let me know how you found out about this blog?

*now over 170...
* 22.05 GMT: now over 250... sadly most of you are here in error... see the comments for an explanation. Welcome anyway!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Future Cities event

This looks like it could be interesting-- impressive line up of speakers...
The Future of Community festival is a day long event on Saturday, March 4th, 2006 at the Central St Martins College of Art and Design, Holborn, London and the MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments. (Tickets £15- £35, depending on who's paying).

Of particular interest to readers of this blog is one session entitled 'Virtual Communities versus Physical Realities'. Description below. My thoughts after.

Cabinet Office's e-Envoy has suggested that 'the UK Villages initiative is a great example of how the internet can be used to make connections within and between communities.' In internet discourse, many people claim that by networking across the web they are freed from the intimidation of physical face-to-face constraints. Others suggest that the anonymity of web communities permits them to be more relaxed and honest about themselves with others. Others 'construct identities'.
But does internet access - often from the isolation of one's bedroom - really generate trust in a community relationship? Does it not reinforce one's isolation in society… to the point of representing a fear of real physical engagement?
Meanwhile, in the physical world, the World Health Organisation has stated that some communities become cut off by road infrastructure, or by high levels of traffic.' Nowadays, physical transport debate seeks to encourage more people away from the isolation of private cars.
But has 'public' transport really managed to create a sense of fellow-feeling?
After all, the Home Office advises us to 'sit near other people...move if someone makes you feel uncomfortable (and)... respect women's personal space.' In the first instance, we withdraw; in the second example, we are encouraged to mingle, but are not both of these scenarios reflective of a pervasive fear of real contact? This session will seek to examine the drivers behind the idea of virtual engagement and physical estrangement.
Speakers: Sandy Starr, technology editor, spiked-online

Dan Sturges, US consultant to GM and Segway,

Neil Cummings, reader in theory and practice, Chelsea College of Art & Design

Saskia Sassen, Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago

Chair: Mark Charmer, director, Movement Design Bureau

That phrase 'from the isolation of one's bedroom' strikes fear in my heart about this session. It sounds as if they may set this up to be people in their bedrooms online all day (ie freaks!) versus people out and about in the 'real world' (ie 'normal' people). I hope not, as it's pretty clear the truth is in between. We often dip in and out of the physical and the virtual worlds when we are communicating with someone and we tend not to make much distinction between them, what matters is the quality of the interaction we are having. Very good paper by Barry Wellman on this very topic, I will dig out the reference later.
Also most people these days don't use the Internet from their bedrooms. This conjures up an image of teenagers locked away (War Games style) in their bedrooms, in chatrooms when they should be doing their homework. I think things have moved on slightly...?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Cool Google Maps

Just came across this site... a collection of google maps 'mash-ups'. There's plenty of them out there now. What an interesting experiment on the part of Google.
Another one I saw today-- every waypoint in County Cork (the largest county in Ireland, as they say) mapped.
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