Berry et al describe public space as “sites that occupy historical, political and social ground,” (Berry et al, 2013: 9) and suggest it is not understood as inert, but rather constructed through social relationships.
The Programmable City blog explores how cities are translated into software and data (The Programmable City, 2017). Fuller’s theory that “software expands out of the computer, becoming spatially active” (Fuller in Kitchin and Dodge, 2011: ii) can be applied to the blog about self-driving lorries and smaller vehicles.
Carlo Ratti, director at MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, explains that self-driving vehicles could “blue the distinction between private and public modes of transportation;” that after taking you to work, the car could then give someone else a lift rather than sitting idle. (Ratti, 2016). This blurring of private and public is also present in Berry et al’s work where they state private space has been transformed by various media entering the home. (Berry et al, 2013: 3).
The self-driving vehicle project could also impact positively on city congestion if there was public access to a fleet that contain various communication technologies.
Coded assemblages can be applied to the transport system. According to Kitchin and Dodge, these occur when different coded infrastructures converge to work together and become “integral” to one another in “producing particular environments.” (Kitchin and Dodge, 2011: 7). With self-driving vehicles, coded assemblages could work together for a car to be booked, driven, parked and so on throughout the day via different customers. This seemingly simple process links to the idea of software as “automagical,” working invisibly to produce complex outcomes in everyday life. (Kitchin and Dodge, 2011: 5). Berry et al build on this, stating due to the flow of data, images and satellites, space emerges through the representation of practices. (Berry et al, 2013: 6). Data about traffic conditions would feedback to the self-driving car and re-route its navigation system before relaying this information to the customer via a screen.
Berry, C., Harbord, J. and Moore, R., O. 2013. Public Space, Media Space. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Kitchin, R. and Dodge, M. 2011. Code/Space Software and Everyday Life. Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press.
Ratti, C. 2016. ‘The road to tomorrow: streets need to be as smart as the cars driving on them.’ Wired. Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/smart-cars-need-smart-streets (Accessed 22/02/17).
The Programmable City. 2017. Scoop It. Available at: http://www.scoop.it/t/the-programmable-city (Accessed 22/02/17).