Wk 10 Sustainability

Wk10 Sustainability

Today’s technological advances have given us the ability to travel greater distances as part of our everyday life. Our mobilization in the 21st century is indicative of a capitalist society and the impact of our mobilization has seen the growth of global warming as “oil shortages, huge population increases and unsustainable resource … future generations may consider the ultra high-carbon… excessive and all-consuming” (Elliott and Urry, 201. PG132). Our demand on fossil fuel is ever increasing as “carbon use within transport accounts for fourteen per cent of total greenhouse emissions” (Elliot and Urry, 2010. PG3).

As we travel we become more dependent on what Elliott and Urry describe as ‘miniaturized mobilities’ these are “mobile phones, laptops and iPods”(Elliott and Urry, 2010. PG5) which helps us to stay connected, be entertained and share our thoughts with our static world. These devices have become part of our social context as they help to shape our experiences as we travel.

While these miniaturizes mobilities enable us to stay connected unless we modify our mobilization patterns global warming will continue to grow and this will eventually affect our ability to travel large distances. As part of our social context we could use our miniaturizes mobilities to address the issue of global warming and raise awareness. The European commission recently funded a CAPs project called DecarboNet. A social media platform developed to raise awareness of our environmental issues and collectively instigate behavioral change.

Those who have developed the DecarboNet platform believe that “building a collective knowledge repository enriched by third-party content from the news and social media to increase awareness among citizens about the long-term impact of their actions on climate change” (DecarboNet, 2016)

Raising awareness with projects like DecarboNet will enable us to avoid a future scenario describe by Elliott and Urry as Regional Warlordism whereby the consequences of our actions means that “ oil, gas and water shortages and intermittent wars lead to the substantial breakdown of many of our mobility, energy and communications connections”. (Elliott and Urry, 2010. PG145) the effects of which means that mobility becomes difficult and those living in fortress like conditions are better off as they less exposed and have access to technology.


Elliott, A. and Urry, J. (2010). Mobile lives. 1st ed. New York, N.Y. ; London: Routledge.

Piccolo, L., Piccolo, L., Change, M., Piccolo, L., Piccolo, L., Scharl, A., Scharl, A., Presentation, A., Piccolo, L., Piccolo, L., Beat, D., Piccolo, L., Piccolo, L., Liverpool, C., Piccolo, L., Piccolo, L., started, T., Piccolo, L., Piccolo, L., Global, C., Piccolo, L., Piccolo, L., 2015, S., Piccolo, L., Piccolo, L., consumption?, I., awareness, R., saving, a., Change, T. and media., m. (2017). Home – DecarboNet. [online] DecarboNet. Available at: https://www.decarbonet.eu/ [Accessed 21 May 2017].



W12 – Summary

The Digital Cities modules has been fascinating. I think living in 2017, it is quite easy to take for granted how technology works within our everyday lives as it has become normalised. This module has allowed me to really think about and assess the huge technological changes in my life time. For example, as Miller explains, “The computer moved from being a tool to being a filter for all culture replacing screens, TVs and gallery walls. The computer is now disappearing from our direct sight as we enter an age where media is integrated into the fabric of the city.” (Miller, 2011: 14). This is one of the overarching themes of the module; others include big data, how digital technology affects the user and citizen’s experience of the city and issues around connection over distance and what connecting to others who are outside of your physical space does to the space itself.
As Townsend states, “for thousands of years, we’ve migrated to cities to connect.” (Townsend, 2013: 1). Technology has enabled us to communicate with people on the move, regardless of their or own location. However, there are consequences to this. Although discussing the iPod, Bull’s work can be applied to city dwellers using their mobile phones to in public spaces. According to Bull, “The more we warm up our private spaces of communication the chillier the urban environment becomes, thus furthering the desire and need to communicate with absent others or to commune privately with the products of the culture industry. Media technology simultaneously isolate and connect.” (Bull, 2007: 9).
Remaining question from this module include, what will be the consequences of smart cities? Do people need to live in cities anymore? Will we ever be able to accurately describe a city using the numbers of data without agenda? (Kitchin and Lauriault, 2015: 16). What are the consequences of big data? What will people do to resist certain data being collected? What will drone 3D printing developments lead to?

Bull, M. 2007. Sound Moves: iPod Culture and Urban Experience. Oxon: Routledge. Pp.9.

Kitchin, R., Lauriault, T. P and McArdle, G. 2015. Knowing and governing cities through urban indicators, city benching marking and real-time dashboards. Regional Studies, Regional Science. 2(1). Pp.16.

Miller, V. 2011. Understanding Digital Culture. In: Miller, V. Key Elements of Digital Media. London: Sage. Pp.14.

Townsend, A., M. 2013. Smart Cities. New York: W.W. Norton and Company. Pp.1.

3D printing

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This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.Week 11
3D Printing

According to Barnett, “3D Printing is about to transform our lives. 3D printers build up solid objects in a great many very thin layers” (2013). It is a machine that is able to print physical object on a three dimensional form. According to Dehue (2017), “a 3D object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object fully is created”. Although, it is not a new invention, but rather the more advanced and developed innovation that started over 30 years ago by Charles Chuck Hull (Birtchnell and Urry, 2016: 1), 3D printing is set to be part of the next industrial revolution.
This technology is able to produce objects ranging from medicines, car and plane parts, building and body part such a limb, hands and even guns. However, Liang and Paddison (2017) also believe that the 3D printing can help alleviate poverty in some areas. Last week, a video from a Congolese blogger circulated on the internet and it showed how thousands of plastic bottles were found on the shore of the Congolese River. This pollution is caused by the fact that there is not an adequate measure taken for recycling used products in many developing countries such as DRC, India etc. This is partly due to the highest level of poverty in those countries. Morfield argue that in the upcoming years, the 3D printing will reduce the manufacturing cost of many products which will allow small businesses to thrive and contribute to the economy of their countries.

Suchismita and Jayant Pai who founded the Photoprints business with another partner company are working toward recycling the plastic bottles collected from the waste to produce low cost plastic filament which can be used as an ink for 3D printer. This market is growing rapidly and is expected to reach a value of more than a billion dollars in the next five years 9 (Liang and Paddison, 2017)


Barnatt, C. (2013). 3D printing. 1st ed. [Nottingham, England?]: ExplainingTheFuture.com.

Birtchnell, T. And Urry, J. 2016. A New Industrial Future? 3D Printing and the Reconfiguration of Production, Distribution and Consumption. London: Routledge. Pp. 1-13. 

Dehue, R. (2017). What is 3D printing? How does 3D printing work? Learn How to 3D Print. [online] 3D Printing. Available at: https://3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing/ [Accessed 7 May 2017].

France24 (2017). Une “banquise” de bouteilles en plastique recouvre le fleuve Congo à Kinshasa. [online] Les Observateurs de France 24. Available at: http://observers.france24.com/fr/20170509-une-banquise-bouteilles-plastique-recouvre-fleuve-congo-kinshasa?ref=fb [Accessed 9 May 2017].

Liang, L. and Paddison, L. (2017). Could 3D printing help tackle poverty and plastic waste?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/nov/06/3d-printing-plastic-waste-poverty-development-protoprint-reflow-techfortrade [Accessed 7 May 2017].

Morefield, A. (2016). Five Ways 3D Printing can help Alleviate Poverty. [online] BORGEN. Available at: http://www.borgenmagazine.com/3d-printing-alleviate-poverty/ [Accessed 7 May 2017].

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Wk11 – 3D Printing

Birtchnell and Urry describe 3D printers as “fabrication technologies that manifest digital data in three-dimensions” Birtchnell and Urry, 2016: 13) and it is changing the prognosis of many ill and injured patients (Scott, 2017).
Daniel Omar got a 3D-printed prosthetic arm fitted after losing his during an aerial attack in Sudan (Birrell, 2017). This fuses analogue (human body) with the digital (3D-printed arm), as Lipson and Kurman state this technology could eliminate the divide between physical and virtual worlds and predict it will eventually detect different blood types or changes in temperature. (Lipson and Kurman, 2013: 14-15).
This fast-developing technology creates bespoke products quickly and efficiently, such as limbs, 3D-printed skin grafts for burn victims and reconstruction parts, as well as hearing aids and dental crowns. Birtchnell and Urry believe that 3D printing will lead to “far more flexibility, choice and variety in the global system people currently rely on for the objects they use in everyday life..social, geopolitical and economic upheaval, disruption and transformation are also on the horizon.” (Birtchnell and Urry, 2016: 3). This could include redundancies of production workers, the quicker manufacture of things and the undemocratic nature of the quality and cost of 3D printers. The best 3D printers will only be available to the rich, meaning those will less expensive, less effective 3D printers could create body parts or goods that are substandard and do not last. The industry is also in early stages in terms of medical use, as Lipson and Kurman explain, “engineering tissue remains a delicate and difficult activity, bound up by ethical issues, political controversy and stringent regulatory processes.” (Lipson and Kurman, 2013: 128).
There are also concerns that 3D printers could be used to create and give unauthorised people or children access to weapons, drugs (Lipson and Kurman, 2013: 11) or counterfeit goods. (Birtchnell and Urry, 2016: 11). There could also be a black market for 3D-printed body parts that could lack the proper quality and regulation they desperately need.

Birrell, I. 2017. 3D printed prosthetic limbs: The next revolution in medicine. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/19/3d-printed-prosthetic-limbs-revolution-in-medicine (Accessed 04/05/17).

Birtchnell, T. And Urry, J. 2016. A New Industrial Future? 3D Printing and the Reconfiguration of Production, Distribution and Consumption. London: Routledge. Pp. 3-13.

Lipson, H. and Kurman, 2013. Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing. Indianapolis: John Wiley. Pp. 11-128.

Scott, C. 2017. In India a 3D printed spine saves a woman from paralysis and death. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/may/04/in-india-a-3d-printed-spine-saves-a-woman-from-paralysis-and-death (Accessed 04/05/17).

Drones: week 9


The drone is gradually conquering its place in the smart cities. In the military, the drone has been used since the beginning of the 21st century. Its main purpose was providing war managers with intelligence, information. The drone is capable of transmitting long-distance surveillance information as well as carrying weapons (Jensen, 2016). Jensen (2016) also states that “the latest technological trajectory of drone is centred around database” (pg 67).

However, recently, its usage has also been extended from from playing the role of airborne mobile sensor to delivering light postage packages. According to Jensen, this latest use of drones has raised an ethical and political concern especially in this time where the fight against terrorism is at its highest point (pg 68). Jensen states that this is due to the fact that despite its purpose (even if it is for domestic use), “having remote-controlled flying devices that are capable to communicate between them in urban and domestic area can have a negative effect on the privacy of the population “(p68).

In 2015, Switzerland post service had their first parcel delivered by a drone. Although it was part of the testing, postal service executive affirmed their satisfaction even though they believed that if the project had to go ahead, a full postal service via drone will not kick off until 2020 (Agence France Presse, 2015). This service is said to be quicker but also safe. Jensen explores the idea of mobility of goods, people, vehicle which he states that is more important that the movement itself. He also states that this is because, mobility explores the social, cultural, economic and political dimension of this new increasing mobile society (2017, pg 69).

According to Flood 2017), the drone delivery service is considered as an agent of hope because several discussion have been held in regards to the importance of using drones to deliver food and medical supply and others important product in deprived areas. In Rwanda, for example Flood states that, because of the long raining season, some areas become inaccessible by road. Therefore, as stated by Flood, “this technology has the potential to erase barriers to access for countless critical medicines and save lives on a scale not previously possible” (Flood, 2016).



Agence France-Presse (2017). Switzerland begins postal delivery by drone. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/08/swiss-post-begins-testing-postal-delivery-by-unmanned-drone [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Jensen, O. (2016). Drone city – power, design and aerial mobility in the age of “smart cities”. Geographica Helvetica, 71(2), pp.67-75.

Flood, Z. (2017). From killing machines to agents of hope: the future of drones in Africa. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/27/africas-drone-rwanda-zipline-kenya-kruger [Accessed 1 May 2017].