4 January 2008

The city is here for you to use

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Adam Greenfield
Adam Greenfield is self-publishing his next book “The City Is Here For You To Use: Urban form and experience in the age of ubiquitous computing”.

The City Is Here For You To Use takes everything explored in Everyware as a given, and a point of departure. It assumes that emergent technologies like RFID, mesh networking and shape-memory actuators – all of which are explained for the non-technically-inclined reader – will simply be part of how cities will be made from now on, and seeks to understand what impact they’re likely to have on metropolitan form and experience.

You can think of it as a substantially expanded investigation into many of the themes and concerns raised in our pamphlet Urban Computing and its Discontents, notably:

  • How will our understanding of the city change when touchless payment infrastructures, “intelligent” access-control systems and dynamic advertisements are the stuff of everyday urban life?
  • How might we use these new technologies to create liveable, humane, sustainable and vibrant places?
  • Will we be able to do so while managing the inevitable new orders of frustration and inconvenience they’ll occasion – to say nothing of their unsettling, inherent potential for panoptical surveillance and regulation?

Through interviews, case studies, analysis and illustration, The City Is Here makes the case that these technologies can help us rediscover public space, then suggests how we might use them to reclaim that space as a common good and a resource for all.

Threading between kneejerk Luddism and blithe techno-utopianism, and forgoing all but the necessary minimum of technical jargon, I intend The City Is Here For You To Use to be an eminently accessible overview of a subject with implications for literally anyone who lives in the cities of the developed world, or plans to. I can promise that architects, designers, urban planners, and anyone interested more generally in understanding how the emergence of ubiquitous and ambient informatics will shape urban communities, physically and experientially, will find plenty to sink their teeth into.”

The book will be offered both as a premium, professionally printed and bound book, and as a free downloadable version in PDF, available concurrently, probably at the very beginning of 2009.

Adam Greenfield is the author of Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing. He is principal of New York City-based, strategic design consultancy Studies and Observation.

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