software city

MorseCodeForever                                                     Cunningham, Ward. Morse Code Forever

Digital or electronically codified information is accessed through the interface of software provided by technology manufacturers, who Manovitch argues, act as gatekeepers with the potential to manipulate media access and representation. “in short, media becomes software.” (Manovitch, 2011:12). Kitchin & Dodge (2011), contend that software or code transduces the physical, social and environmental space and time (spatialities) as well as automating the governance of everyday life. The consequences of software-coded space, such as surveillance, regulation “unfold in diverse ways through the mutual constitution of software and sociospatial practices.” (p.16). Kitchin and Dodge qualify this neatly, “software conditions our very existence”(ix).

Not simply linking the screen, register and algorithms with roads, rooms and runways urban space is transduced and managed by code, be it in the physical workplace, in the social space of the home, or commuting within the built environment. “Space from this perspective is an event or a doing…” (Kitchin and Dodge, p.16) This code/space is dependent on software driven technology to function as intended. For example, a waiting room can be transduced to an airport check-in area with the use of software and the codification of the individual and potential passenger. A warehouse can be transduced into a supermarket with the codification of goods, customer and transaction.

Codification has the potential of empowerment and control. Traffic cameras are an example of where the individual’s behaviour is codified and monitored by software, policed by algorithm and social practice manipulated within this urban space by digital surveillance. By codifying the citizen as a data subject, the individual is dehumanised as object for automated management. Security and efficiency are promoted by government in tandem with business, as an argument for the deployment of software. With 4g mobile and location based services, there is a cultural need to contextualise ourselves within a growing network of information (Gordon and de Souza e Silva, 2011), trading potential disciplinary effects against the mediated benefits gained. The ubiquitous and irresistible seduction of software erodes the element of choice on how to engage or function as a citizen.






Greenfield, Adam, (2006). Everyware: the dawning age of ubiquitous computing. Berkeley : New Riders.

Kitchin, R. & Dodge, M., (2011). Code/space software and everyday life, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press

Manovich, L., (2011). Media After Software <Available at:> [Last Accessed: 23feb2014].

Gordon, Eric and se Souza e SIlva, Adriana (2011). Net locality: why location matters in a networked world. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell



Cunningham, Ward. Morse Code Forever. <Available at:> [Last Accessed: 26feb2014]. Original source code: <Available at: > [Last Accessed: 26feb2014].


Further Reading

Matthew FULLER (2003) It Looks Like You’re Writing a Letter: Microsoft Word in Behind the Blip. <Available at:> [Last Accessed: 23feb2014].

Suggestions for transparency in big data                 


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