Wk 4 Code / space

In today’s society it is impossible to live without interacting with software if you are living within a society that has been shaped by Western Culture. In the United Kingdom our focus of productivity has evolved from a manufacturing focused nation to an evolving digital society, the “growing pervasiveness of software has the lifeblood of today’s emerging information society” (Kitchin and Dodge, 2011. Pg.3).


How we use digital devices and coding within our everyday life has grown dramatically since the development of the Internet. Cities such as Dublin have been the forerunner in experimenting how digital technologies can interact within public spaces. Using a coded infrastructure a regulated network that monitors and links coded objects and coded infrastructure in part of fully by software (Kitchin and Dodge, 2011), Dublin has become a major case study for companies such as IBM, CISCO, Dell and Microsoft working in partnership with the city’s leaders to develop projects that will enable its population to become tech savvy.


As a smart city its Dublin’s inhabitants will be able to take advantage of it proposed free public Wi-Fi in its city centre. However, the conditions of this service is under discussion between the city’s council and the Wi-Fi providers about the model of service offered to it inhabitants. Within the information society, data has become the currency of value to many organisations. Using data mining to monitor those using the free Wi-Fi service will enable the council and the providers of the service to monitor how the public uses the space within the city centre, type of communication used while they are plugged into the service and what if any type of merchandise can be sold back to those using the service.


Although there are advantages to the user for this type of Internet availability within the city centre it is easy to see that there will be some concerns as “if people felt that Big Brother was watching them constantly, that would be a disincentive to using the service” (Thomas, 2016).


The idea of a free internet service being offered to all in a public space will help to bridge the gap in a growing digital divide but apart from the tangible boundaries of the space in question are there also intangible boundaries to the user of such a service e.g. the right to privacy when using a service such as this.





Dawes, S. (2014a) ‘Public space, media space’, New Media & Society, 16(7), pp. 1189–1190. doi: 10.1177/1461444814543078b.


Kitchin, R. (2017) The programmable city. Available at: http://www.scoop.it/t/the-programmable-city (Accessed: 26 February 2017).


Kitchin, R. (2016) The programmable city. Available at: http://progcity.maynoothuniversity.ie/2016/11/smart-dublin-in-one-word/ (Accessed: 26 February 2017).


Kitchin, R. and Dodge, M. (2011) Code/space: Software and everyday life. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


Thomas, C. (2016) Bringing free public Wifi back to Dublin city centre. Available at: http://www.dublininquirer.com/2016/11/09/bringing-free-public-wifi-back-dublin-city-centre/ (Accessed: 26 February 2017).

W4 Code/Space

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).

Week 3: Mobile and Locative Sound

Mobile and Locative Sound

Recently, I came across an article from the Guardian about an electronic device that was developed by Microsoft in collaboration with Guide dog and Future Cities Catapult. Inspired by the concept of Soundscape, they developed a headset which is equipped with a GPS tracker, compass and gyroscope. Paired with a smartphone, it can be programed by using information from Microsoft Maps to guide through sound visually impaired pedestrians (Wainwright, 2014).

Behrendt (2012), states that while being on a move especially in busy environment, it is often challenging to keep checking on our device’s screen (284).  For a blind person, the concept of soundscape presents quite a lots of advantage. This is because their inability to see means that they can fully rely on sound in order to be active and independent.

In their recent study about blind people and echolocation, Marlow and Brogard, 2015 discovered that visually impaired people have the ability to adapt their brain to see the world through the sound that surround them. On the other hand, Ward and Meijer discussed about the notion of Sensory substitution. They claim that by “converting visual information into auditory or tactile signals it is possible for the blind and visually impaired to acquire information about the world that is not normally accessible through audition and touch” (2010, p3).

In the context developed by Bull (2007) on the Ipod culture, he stated that the Ipod acts as “framing device, enabling a distinctive mode of auditory embodiment (pg 22). Therefore, it can be advised that integrating specific sounds to characterize different location using an Ipod or any other electronic device can help the visually impaired people to increase their mobility. As argued by Bull, they can engage and orientate themselves to the world and to themselves (2007, pg 22).


Behrendt, F. (2012) ‘The sound of locative media’, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 18(3), pp. 283–295.

Bull, M. (2007) Sound moves: IPod culture and urban experience. New York: Taylor & Francis, pg 1-23

Marlow, K. and Brogaard, B. (2015). The Blind Individuals Who See By Sound | DiscoverMagazine.com. [online] Discover Magazine. Available at: http://discovermagazine.com/2015/july-aug/27-sonic-vision [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].

Ward, J. and Meijer, P. (2010). Visual experiences in the blind induced by an auditory sensory substitution device. Consciousness and Cognition, 19(1), pp.492-500.

Wainwright, O. (2014). Headset provides ‘3D soundscape’ to help blind people navigate cities. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2014/nov/07/microsoft-headset-blind-3d-gps-guide-dogs

W3 Locative & Mobile Sound

As a driver when I started to navigate through ‘The Sound of locative Media’ text my imagination automatically flowed to the use of a Sat Nav, for me of course it made sense for the auditory element of this device should be the most important part of the interactivity. I found myself agreeing with Behrendt description of visuals becoming a distraction from the importance of what was being said as “the screens of mobile devices is often challenging, especially while being on the move” (Behrendt, 2012. P. 284).

Within our environment our spatial perception is associated with our visual awareness, however if we considered how other mammals navigated their environments such as dolphins that use their sonar senses to move around their spaces we would need to evaluate our importance of the visual within our own world. To enable us to do this the development of digital technology and mobile applications have started to make use of sounds as well as visual elements. When I think of my own environment and apps I have used in the past such as Google maps often the auditory element contradicts the visual icons being shown but it usually the auditory element of the app that is correct. My use of such apps is very general as I often refrain from using one device to navigate my life. As someone who lives and works in an urban environment the National Mall app is an interesting concept as it allowed the user to interact differently with the spaces they inhabited. I found myself comparing the concept of this app to Pokémon go that was launch in the summer of 2016 the similarities of “The app…designed to play exclusively within the physical boundaries” (Bluebrain, 2011b). Although there are similarities between the two concepts of the national Mall app and Pokémon go. The National Mall app is limited by it interactive location and choice of sounds played to the user. However, this could be solely based on the size of the company Bluebrain. The idea of the auditory element of locative media to enable the user to have a personalized playlist is an interesting concept as they interact with the space around them but would the playlist be the same for every user, how would it differ? Perhaps as Behrendt suggested in her description of the National Mall app “you will experience the same music or sound that you experience there before, giving you some (limited) agency over the kinds of sounds you hear” (Behrendt, 2012. P.290)

One could argue that the idea of the National Mall app and others like it is a development of the iPod and its playlist. The National Mall app and playlist alike means that “listeners could own their own acoustic spaces” (Bull, 2007. Pg18). Navigating through urban environment can be a lonely experience as the nature of how we navigate the environment in our daily lives means we are more isolated than ever before. Our movements to and from the daily grind of the nine to five dictates our time and how we use the environment around us, which describe by Bull can become a cold solitary space. By using sound to personalize these spaces allow users of apps like National Mall or personalized playlist to own their journey and interaction with the city in a unique way allowing the user to filter out the sounds of the environment we transitionally inhabit.



Behrendt, F. (2012) ‘The sound of locative media’, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 18(3), pp. 283–295.

PRO, B.B. (2017) Bluebrain – the national mall – location aware album. Available at: https://vimeo.com/24252332 (Accessed: 19 February 2017).

Bull, M. (2006) Sound moves: IPod culture and urban experience. New York: Taylor & Francis.


W3 Locative and Mobile Sound

It is difficult to imagine a city without noise. However, the Noise Abatement Society’s objective is to raise awareness and solve noise pollution and noise issues, believing that these can cause ill health and cause mental distress. (Noise Abatement Society, 2017). However, Ari Kelman’s theory that “sound is one of the characteristics that makes a city a city” (Kelman, 2010: 217) contradicts this and suggests that urban dwellers would be comfortable with city noises. This does not, however, explain why they choose to take their music into the public space. This blurs the lines of private and public because a music listening experience does not have to end once the listening leaves the home. They can take their music with them, creating and playing selected playlists to suit their current mood or what they would like their mood to be as they move through the city. Bull reinforces this, believing music to impact the atmosphere of spaces, (Bull, 2000 in Behrendt, 2012: 287), and according to Behrendt, this sound is immersive (Behrendt, 2012: 288).
Listening to music through headphones also concerns the Noise Abatement Society and they have set up the Love Your Ears campaign to try to prevent teenagers listening to their music too loudly while on the move. (Noise Abatement Society, 2017).
Behrendt discusses Bull’s theory that urban dwellers use music to manage their mood, in turn warming up their private space but chilling the environment for everyone else. (Bull, 2007 in Behrendt, 2012: 284). This is because it is a private activity so others cannot hear what is being listening to, unless it is very loud, so can be seen as isolating. This solitary isolation is echoed by Bull when he states “solitariness and the daily movement of people through the city are two dominant hallmarks of contemporary urban experience.” (Bull, 2007: 5).
According to Bull, in the age of the iPod, any city space has the potential to be a ‘non-space,’ thus having no meaning, the music urban dwellers take with them throughout the city then fills this space and helps to create it into something meaningful for the listener.
With an increased amount of people listening to mobile music through their smartphones and the rise of noise cancelling headphones, perhaps this explains the Noise Abatement Society’s aim to make cities quieter, for example with delivery lorries making less noise (Noise Abatement Society, 2017). With a quieter city, urban dwellers are free to create and manipulate the public sonic space to best suit their mood.

Behrendt, F. 2012. The Sound of Locative Media. Convergence: The International Journal of research into New Media Technologies. 18(3): 284-288.

Bull, M. 2007. Sound Moves: iPod Culture and Urban Experience. Oxon: Routledge. Pp. 5.

Kelman, A. 2010. Rethinking the Sound Scape: A Critical Genealogy of a Key Term in Sound Studies. London: Taylor and Francis. Pp.217.

Noise Abatement Society. 2017. ‘Who We Are.’ Noise Abatement Society. Available at: http://noiseabatementsociety.com/about-us/who-we-are/ (Accessed 17/02/17).

Week 2 Digital Cities



LIFE – Life First Emergency Traffic Control

This project by Catapult smart cities focuses on the medical emergency response. It has as an objective to reduce the time in which emergency vehicles take to reach the patient in threatening or critical conditions. This project combines both the transport system Catapult and the Future City Catapult to create and develop strategies that can allow them to achieve this aim.


Towsend states that the exodus of population in big cities is rapidly increasing and with an estimation of almost 6.5 billions of people moving to the big cities by 2050. This means that there will be more demands in different fields in order to keep the cities running and to ensure a thorough development in those cities. In the case of emergency response such as ambulances for example, this urban expansion as Towsend calls it means that the need to reach out to more patient will definitely become a challenge as the population grows. It is important to develop new strategies that will not just allow the patient in critical conditions to be reach out as quick as possible but also to create a system that will be consistent and productive while taking in consideration issues such as climate change.


With Miller’s concept of a databased environment, developing an advanced satellite navigation system will have an impact of how the ambulances will locate the patient addresses more accurately and therefore a lot more quicker. Miller states that directions and maps are created from a complex maze of digitised database of roads which will provide this service a wealth of useful information.


According to Towsend (2011), there is a better way to build smart cities than to simply call in the engineers. He states that a new batch of new civic leader will show a different way to the audience and the population. That is why he suggests that people need to empower themselves to build cities organically from the bottom up (page 18).




Catapult, F.C. (2017) Home – future cities catapult. Available at: http://futurecities.catapult.org.uk/ (Accessed: 13 Feb 2017)


Miller, V. (2011). Understanding Digital Culture. 1st ed. London: SAGE Publications, pp.12-45.


Townsend, A.M. (2013) Smart cities: Big data, civic hackers, and the quest for a new utopia. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

Smart Cities and Digital Culture WK2

“Arthur C Clarke articulated a vision of the future where… new telecommunications technologies played a crucial role in London’s success” (Townsend, 2013. P6). The use of telecommunications and machines are everywhere they automatically engage in our lives as they blend into the background and we rarely give them a second thought. In essence this is the smart city. The development of the wireless network has seen its growth out strip that of fixed technology. Wireless technology seems to make our lives easier as cited by the catapult future cities website. Whether through communication or accessibility many of us have “at least two additional things connected to the internet” (Townsend, 2013. P3).

However, while we use the convenience of the wireless technology everyday we rarely think about the data gathering process that allows those who own the technology to gather information of our movements, from purchases to who we communicate with and how we move around the city. An immediate example I can think of is that in my place of work every staff member and student has to swipe in and out to enter the college premises. While this seems like a clear development of the clocking in and out machines mainly used in factory environments during the 20th century, technology has allowed the employer to go one step further. The college has just occupied a new building. While I joked with my peers last week about there being no hiding place in the new build made of nice shinny glass it also dawned on us that as staff members our location could also be tracked in the new build as we have to swipe in to every room we use. Yes it is a cool idea that I no longer have to carry a heavy bunch of keys with me to access a classroom or an office but how much of this design was put in place because of this convenience and how much of it had a big brother element to it? This data gathering activity has been a highlight of IBM’s Think Academy smart city on a smaller scale, gathering data of this kind will allow senior managers to monitor how often rooms are being used in the new build with a thermostat control in each room it could also let them know what temperature we like to work at and if we look further one has ask whether the computer network is connected to the system and how much monitoring of the system is connected to the swipe of a card and our computer login?

As technology develops the nature of our society changes as we grow into this new era of the smart city we need to ask, “what do we want a smart city to be?” (Townsend, 2013. P15).



Catapult, F.C. (2017) Home – future cities catapult. Available at: http://futurecities.catapult.org.uk/ (Accessed: 13 February 2017).

Hight, C. (2012) ‘Book review: Understanding digital CultureMillerVincent, understanding digital culture, sage, London, 2011, ISBN 9 7818 4787 4979, 254 pp., £21.99. Distributor: Footprint’, Media International Australia, 145(1), pp. 171–172. doi: 10.1177/1329878×1214500133.

IBM Think Academy (2014) How it works: Smarter cities. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJVK25wWvbE (Accessed: 13 February 2017).

Townsend, A.M. (2013) Smart cities: Big data, civic hackers, and the quest for a new utopia. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.






Week 1 Digital Cities

Hi All, I decided to started the MA in Creative Media last year after getting to a point in my career where I felt it was necessary. Prior to starting this course I had gained a degree in Architecture and for 15 years have worked in and around the creative industries. For the last eight years I have worked in further education and have specialised in Digital Media and have taught students from Level 2 to Foundation Diploma students getting ready for University. For the last 15 months I have stopped teaching and I now manage the Art Fashion and Media department.

I decided to take the Digital Cities module for a combination of reasons, the combination of architecture and technology naturally combines my two interest and the outline of the module also seem to connect with the Network Society module which I really enjoyed last year.

Week 2: Smart Cities and Digital Culture

Poster states that the main difference between old broadcast media and new media was the old media was passive, whereas the latter is active. (Poster, 1995), though Lister et al argue that this is simplistic, describing new media as “digital, interactive, hypertextual, dispersed and virtual.” (Lister et al, 2009). New media and digital cities go hand in hand.

This focus on the digital can be seen with UK company, Future Cities Catapult who are dedicated to ‘enhancing’ urban environments and innovation to grow companies. They focus on “integrated urban planning, healthy cities and urban mobility.” (Future Cities Catapult, 2017). One of their projects was developing a strategy to make the University of Glasgow a smart campus. Townsend describes smart cities as “places where information technology is wielded to address problems old and new.” (Townsend, 2013: xii). This may be on a larger scale than a smart campus, but shares similarities.

At the University of Glasgow, digital technology was recommended for use to enhance the students experience and give them a competitive edge. It would also allow students to study from any location, changing the dynamics of education and space. Their website states that creating a smart campus would lead to enhanced learning and better life on campus. (Future Cities Catapult, 2017).

The University would have to be adaptable according to Miller’s position that the internet and much of its content are in a “continual state of transformation.” (Miller, 2009: 29). This is reinforced by Future Cities Catapult statement on their website, which starts that the smart campus “actively learns from an adapts to the needs of its people and place, unlocking the potential of e-technology and enabling world-changing learning.” (Future Cities Catapult, 2017).

According to Townsends “we experience the symbiosis of place and cyberspace every day. It’s almost impossible to imagine city life without our connected gadgets.” (Townsend, 20123: 6). Using Townsends theory, this comfort with digital technologies in everyday life would transfer well into the realm of education.

Future Cities Catapult. 2017. Future Cities Catapult. Available at: http://futurecities.catapult.org.uk (Accessed 10/02/17).

Lister, M. 2009. In In Miller, V. 2011. Key Elements of Digital Media. In Understanding Digital Culture. Sage: London. Pp.12.

Miller, V. 2011. Key Elements of Digital Media. In Understanding Digital Culture. Sage: London. Pp.12-29.

Poster, M. 1995. In Miller, V. 2011. Key Elements of Digital Media. In Understanding Digital Culture. Sage: London. Pp.12.

Townsend, A., M. 2013. Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers and the Quest for a New Utopia. New York: W.W. Norton and Company. Pp.xii-6.

Digital cities week 1

Hi, my name is Safi. I just completed my BA in Media Studies last summer. I decided to continue with my Masters because I would like to develop further the subject that i explored while writing my dissertation last year. I am studying full time and currently working part time as a TA and also as a freelance photographer.

I am very interested about Digital cities as a module because with the rise of technology, it is interesting not just to witness how our cities are being transformed daily bit also to be able to study and do some researches about how the population is adapting to those changes.

I am planning to focus on E-learning as a tool for education for children  in rural cities and I will be looking at the East of  DR Congo as my area of focus. I believe that by learning about “Digital Cities” in developed countries for example,I will be able to create some links on how “the digitisation of cities” can have an impact to the education system in developing countries and point out the importance of technology as a tool for development .

I am interested on the topic that we will cover on week 6 regarding the City Dashboards and Open Data. I am keen to learn about the kind of data that is used and why and also how accessible those informations can be to other people.

The second topic that caught my attention while reading the module outline is week 7 about the intelligent transport and the field trip.One of the question that i asked myself few years ago was regarding how transports would be adjusted with the unending rise of technology. Therefore i am looking forward to get to learn how these changes are being made and what the future transport will look like in the next 10 years.  And lastly, week 9 which focusses on drones because i have been paying quite a lots of attention on drones and what they can be used for in general. This is related to the fact that i have come across a Google Maps car and drones once in Brighton and i thought it will be an exciting subject to learn about.