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.

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