Digital Faces, Public Spaces

Linda Baker explores how technology and urban public spaces are adapting to each other in Salon’s "Urban Renewal, the Wireless Way."

In the 1980s,
technologists and urban planners began to look at virtual communities
as a new form of urbanism, says Anthony Townsend, a research scientist
at NYU who teaches in both the urban planning and the
telecommunications departments. "But they very quickly realized that it
wasn’t that interesting," he says. "There are some indirect linkages
between the desktop web and what goes on every day in urban spaces, but
not really very tight linkages." Today, he says, the proliferation of
wireless technologies has led to more direct interactions between
cities and networked spaces. "What’s happening now is that technology
and industry are adapting to us," Townsend said. "Instead of us
becoming global beings, technology is reorienting around the way we
are: visual, local, tactile."

The article includes a nice overview of Athens’ Wireless Athens Georgia project, also known as The Cloud at Athens.

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