“I was recently asked to comment on ‘the street of the future’; a response for a quango responsible for the built environment and a government department responsible for transport, roads and so forth. Which means it’s really the street of the near-future. I didn’t have enough time to write something short, so I dashed off the following, and I’m really posting here as a note to self, rather than an attempt to deeply discuss the everyday informational street circa 2008. Still, I hope you find it useful or engaging. The photos don’t relate directly but create a kind of composite illustrative city nonetheless.
It’s deliberately grounded in the here-and-now, more or less, so it will seem rather old hat to some of you. Which in a sense it is. And in another sense, it isn’t. But either way, this was a better strategy for the task-in-hand, and in imagining the scene below, via a kind of narrative, it’s still remarkable to even sketchily consider how much data is already around us, and is near-invisible to traditional urban planning perspectives. And I’d suggest that this data beginning to profoundly affect the way the street feels. Some quick analysis follows the narrative, raising a series of questions for governance, legislation and the public-private partnerships that also constitute the contemporary street.”