Tuesday, October 13, 2009

WIRED: IT and Cities

There's a great series of articles in the November WIRED on information technology and cities ("Digital Cities"). I found them on the WIRED UK website after reading about the transportation article on Planetizen. (Photo: Buffalo NY City Hall Mural from my flickr photos.) Here's the rundown:

Digital Cities: Your neighbourhood is now Facebook Live is a thoughtful answer to those who think social networking will end "real" social life. An important point: planning social spaces in cities will become even more important!

Digital Cities: The transport of tomorrow is already here describes a future transportation system consisting mostly of existing technologies. Lots of good ideas, but it will be very difficult to implement vehicles that control themselves given existing institutional systems.

Digital Cities: 'Sense-able' urban design says that:

"... cities have a special feature: citizens. By receiving real-time information, appropriately visualised and disseminated, citizens themselves can become distributed intelligent actuators, who pursue their individual interests in co-operation and competition with others, and thus become prime actors on the urban scene."
My comment is: right - but why stop there? Using Web 2.0 applications (e.g. my Busmeister idea) citizens can actually influence a city's physical and operational structure.

Digital Cities: Words on the street makes a point similar to my comment above:

"In the networked city, therefore, the pressing need is for translators: people capable of opening up these occult systems, explaining their implications to the people whose neighbourhoods, choices and lives are increasingly conditioned by them."
One role for these translators would be to use systems like Busmeister to redesign their cities.

There are more articles in the Digital Cities series, I recommend them all. WIRED magazine is really turning into an excellent source of information on the nexus between IT and the real world.

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