Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Viability of Urban Social Technologies

Interesting paper on the Viability of Urban Social Technologies from Jens Pedersen and Anna Vallgarda from the University of Copenhagen. Urban Social Technologies are defined as "information technologies applied in urban settings and with a social purpose". They make the point that urban designers and planners have not always been successful in designing spaces that serve a benign social purpose, that it is difficult to plan in the face of the huge number of variables that such spaces represent. This is undeniably true. However I think one of the opportunities presented by 'urban social technologies' is that people can potentially build their own spaces. it is easier to build virtual space than physical space (arguably). Applications like Foundcity, built on Google Maps allow people to annotate space, and in some sense interact with that space. Hybrid spaces formed through interactions between virtual space and physical place are also open to many people to 'design'.

There are of course many threats to this DIY Internet culture, not least big business ownership and control, government anti-privacy legislation, as well as the fact that it is not open to everyone yet-- knowledge and tech-skills are required.


Anonymous Luke said...

The Demos report 'People Make Places' proposes 'coproduction' as a mechanism whereby 'ordionary people' and institutions/planners/etc combine to create viable public space. the examples they choose, ranging from alotments to arts centres to shopping centre cafes to car boot sales demonstrate the effectiveness of this organic model. The publication is available at:

5:14 p.m.  

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