Week 10: Assignment 2 idea

The government guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost everything about our lives. Staying inside our homes has altered the way we experience the space around us, and the nature of the space between us and other people. Our ability to be mobile, encouraged by the growing technology of smart-enabled devices, has ended abruptly and so how we use these features has also made an about-turn.

Many of the readings for the literature review explore and make judgements of how these devices enable us to interact with the spaces and infrastructure outside of our homes. Applications such as Actionbound, bus and transport apps, Pokémon GO! – all feature in the changing landscapes that are Smart Cities, changing the way we experience the space around us, increasing our mobility as people and even how, as consumers and citizens, we interact with businesses, corporations and local councils.

During the ‘lockdown’, applications such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp and House Party have increased in popularity as people are relying on internet and telecom connected devices and saved contacts to interact with those outside of the household.

To focus this assignment, I am going to interview some users of the House Party app, as it has seen a dramatic rise in use. I am using it instead of Zoom as I want to focus on socialising outside of work rather than working from home. I want to ask:

  1. Are there certain features about the app which makes it preferable to other video calling apps?

This question aims to explore the following:

  • How the user interface is different from other video calling apps
  • How the app is designed to foster activities beyond video calls
  • How the app feels to use, and how this changes how the user feels

There will also be a short semiotic and linguistic analysis of the app’s user interface to explore these concepts further.

  1. Do you feel closer to your friends and family when using the app?

This question aims to explore the following:

  • How the feeling of space between users is increased or decreased when using the app
  • Does the user ‘notice’ that they are using an app, or does it blend seamlessly into their conversation
  • To what extent does the app mimic a ‘real’ house party?


The final point will also reference the UX and linguistics of the app itself, but these questions are designed to explore how effective the app is at closing that space between friends and family members.


  1. What do you feel about the immediate space around you[r body] when using the app?
  • This is a more direct question asking the user to think explicitly about the space around them, which they may not have done previously
  • Hopefully this will encourage the user to talk more about the difference between their mobility pre-lockdown and how it has changed during lockdown (although the question may be re-worded to address this, or another question added)

These questions will have overlapping answers and themes and I expect the questions to change before I ask them, they are not currently set in stone.

I want the conclusion to give some evidence as to how the themes explored previously in the literature review, about the expansion of our mobility, the alteration of space around us by digital technologies and ‘smart cities’ is being turned on its head by the measures implemented during the pandemic. I want to challenge some of the pre-conceived notions of concepts such as net locality and the embedding of technologies, but also expand on some of their uses in ways which writers and academics would previously not have considered.

Week 10: Sustainability, Mobility, Utopia and Sensing Cities

This week’s example comes from the news that Barclays boss Jes Staley is rethinking the “long term location strategy” of the bank’s offices. (BBC News, 2020)

Since the Government guidelines around social distancing, around 70,000 Barclays employees are working from home, doing jobs which were once undertaken in large communal buildings in London and other major cities. Staley told reporters that the bank was now being run by staff working “from their kitchens” which has led him to re-evaluate how much office space was really needed.

Staley said that “the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past.”

Elliot and Urry, writing a decade ago, already began to foresee some of the large-scale societal changes that would occur from individuals using more digital technologies and increasing mobility in their daily lives. Their example is of Simone, who travels as part of her job, and is reliant on miniaturised internet-enabled devices to access information quickly and frequently when in different locations. (6: 2010) The thousands of people, including Barclays employees, who have set up themselves to work from home is an example of this mobility happening on a larger scale; with the change being from communal office to various employee households, rather than individuals moving across urban environments.

Elliot and Urry have made some predictions about what the future looks like based on our current lifestyles, many of which are like Simone’s. The first is Perpetual Motion, a “hyper” mobile society who are “always on” i.e. devices switched on, connected to the internet or location enabled. (141: 2010) Devices are used to manage personal finances, tenuous and distant social relationships and privately-owned companies are leading the way in an ever-expanding transport market. The line between ‘work’ and ‘not work’ is blurred, fluid, and stress has reached epidemic levels. Using the example of the Barclays employees, households are reliant on ubiquitous technologies embedded in every room for work, study, and play, with the line between work and play no longer blurred but completely saturated within one another. Staley’s phrase, “from their kitchens” provides unsettling imagery of families perpetually connected to their devices with none of the perks of international travel, or even seeing friends and family members.

Scenario three; Digital Networks, plays a bigger role then maybe the authors anticipated. (147: 2010) Transport is pre-defined and integrated into larger networks run by smart-enabled devices. In person meetings are rare, even discouraged, save for video conferencing which is sold on its similarity to human interaction. This third scenario plays out after carbon becomes scarce, and in return for a comfortable life, individuals’ privacy is traded and instead of personal freedom are sold security products. Elliot and Urry’s predictions are based on a future ravaged by global warming and a scarcity of natural resources but, given the hindsight we have now, is it possible to visualise a future shaped in this way by a global pandemic?


BBC News. ‘Barclays boss: Big offices may be a thing of the past’ <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52467965> accessed 29/04/2020

Elliot, A. & Urry, J. 2010. Mobile Lives Oxford, Routledge

Week 10- Digital Cities


It is the project that collectively requires improving the accessibility of digital platform in European cities. The objective of this initiative project is to develop the pilot testing tools and methods for collecting and distributing information regarding public space accessibility. It is a sustainable development initiative goal and one type of global action in order to secure more resources, leadership and applying smart solutions.

In order to get active for this project, the online maps are one of the great options     for indicating the ways and accessible places. One of the key points is that visualising the data in several ways that are highly attractive and intuitive for target citizens of digital city. Sustainable smart city is both a place to live and an economic region that delivers sustainable development through the systematic development of creative technologies, services and materials. Through minimising the impact of smart cities to environment, they must function better at every level. To make a city green, most important ranking systems are included. The environmental impact per person, generation of renewable energy, percentage of citizen utilising the public transport, recycling the programs and green spaces are the factors beyond a green city development. The entire carbon emissions from the digital ecosystem are remarkable. The digital revolution interacts to all aspects of the physical and human in several varieties of alternative ways. The global data centres are predicted to equate 2 percent of worldwide emissions equivalent to the emissions from aviation worldwide. The Green peace have been driven a great awareness around the internet and data centres.

The new GPS satellites could provide better positioning along with accurate results because of new set of atomic clocks performed externally at each satellite. The satellites have enough transmitting power and the reception of GPS is has more reliability in processing the data regarding correct positioning even in indoors and urban areas. Thus, several technological solutions and applications inspire the alternation of behaviour along with the digital city buildings utilised by efficient sensors of network and energy. 


Elliot, A., & Urry, J. (2010). Mobile Lives. Oxford: Routledge: Introduction and Conclusion , references.

UN (n.d.) The Sustainable Development Agenda, http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda/



Rwanda is a rural country and thus blood products and medical facilities cannot be kept at every health care centre that increased attraction of Africa towards Drone Technology. In Rwanda, Africa the unnamed aerial vehicles are used for transporting medical equipment and essentials within the country for ensuring proper healthcare facilities (Flood, 2016).

Roles and responsibilities of drones

The major role of drones in Rwanda is the delivery of medical services and equipment which are essential for securing and saving people’s life. Due to lack of infrastructure and road facilities, the drone plays a crucial role in transporting medical products and equipment to the healthcare centre within less time utilization (Flood, 2016)

Figure: Drones deliver- Health care  Source: (Trucker, 2020)

Future developments in drown

Rwanda wants to make the drone as a supplementary transport system that contributes to facilitating the country with medical services. The aim is to establish 18 ports on the National Network for Rwanda with less capital investment. The project has consumed $70,000 for building low-tech, steel free structure till May 2016 (Flood, 2016).


Development and deployment of drones are at the forefront for logistics in Swiss port since 2015. The drones are responsible for transporting special healthcare deliveries in the corporation in various regions of Switzerland (Corrigan, 2019)

Figure: Swiss Port Drone  –Source: (Corrigan, 2019)



In 2018, JD.com has become the first company in China to secure a license for providing logistics services with the operation of drones. The operation contributed to making deliveries in challenging areas that increased the business and popularity of the company in the world (Corrigan, 2019).   


Corrigan, F., 2019. DroneZone. (Online) Available at; https://www.dronezon.com/drones-for-good/drone-parcel-pizza-delivery-service/ (Accessed on 1st April 2020).

Flood, Z., 2016. From Killing Machines to Agents of Hope: The Future of Drones in Africa. (Online) Available at; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/27/africas-drone-rwanda-zipline-kenya-kruger (Accessed on 1st April 2020).

Hersh, M., 2019. Learning and Teaching Medicine in Rwanda. (online) Available at; https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2019/11/13/learning-and-teaching-medicine-in-rwanda-part-ii/ (Accessed on 1st April 2020).

Trucker, J., 2020. Drones Deliver Healthcare. (Online) Available at; https://www.dronesinhealthcare.com/ (Accessed on 1st April 2020).



In this modern age, I have identified different types of games and application which are interesting to play with friends and also make more enjoyment. Talking about Pokémon Go, my experience with this game was marvelous and adventurous. This game is for both android and IOS and when I have installed this application on my mobile phone, I don’t know about this game, how to play and find Pokémon. After installing this game I found there is some briefing about the process and getting an introduction, it is required to select one of the starters among three Pokémon’s which are (Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur) (Fettrow and Ross, 2017). The whole game is based on these three processing which is catching Pokémon, visiting Pokéstops, and gym battles, where the main process of this game is to find Pokémon and catch them from different locations which sound more interesting. We have to find different Pokémon’s from different locations.


A Pokémon catching is interesting process where you have to walk different locations as mention in your mobile phone in the mapping direction and tab on the Pokémon which directly connected to you with catching interface. There is a more advance process through the indication of the colorful ring surrounding of Pokémon and which are describing through different levels. Red reflects difficulty levels, yellow for moderate and green reflects an easy level of catching a Pokémon.


Pokestops reflexing the local location where Pokémon exists and it is an interesting process of battle with finding Pokémon to catch it. The gym is also an important part of the game, it helps to train your Pokémon and provide XP, extra power to you Pokémon to fight more efficiently against your competitors. Tap on the enemy Pokémon and decide how effectively you want to fight, here I customize the process of battling by light and hard mode (LeBlanc and Chaput, 2017).



Fettrow, E.A.W. and Ross, D., 2017. Games as a Force for Good: Strategies for Incorporating Pokémon Go in the Classroom. Kentucky Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance18.

LeBlanc, A.G. and Chaput, J.P., 2017. Pokémon Go: a game changer for the physical inactivity crisis?. Preventive medicine101, pp.235-237.

Week 9: Drones

My case study is the incident in December 2018 of multiple drone sightings over the runway at Gatwick Airport, West Sussex, which grounded over 1,000 flights and disrupted over 140,000 passengers over a 2-day period. (BBC News, 2019)

Jensen (2016) presents the six dimensions of surveillance, two of which are particularly relevant to this case study. As the authorities are still unclear as to who was responsible for the incident (or the details have not been made publicly available) Dimension 5: Drone Surveillance is being excluded. More applicable is Dimension 2: Eyes on the Street (2016: 72).

This dimension is relevant as most of the drone sighting reports came from members of the public, over 100 of which were from “credible witnesses” (BBC News, 2019). There was no other line of enquiry, not even a photograph of the drones as they were small and moved quickly. Thus, in this instance, it is “engaged citizens” (2016: 72) who are providing the surveillance on behalf of the state, which is a more traditional form of surveillance but relevant as drones are still an unfamiliar sight in our landscape. Previously, surveillance technologies such as CCTV, relied on being attached to a building, object such as a car, or even a mobile phone carried by a person. Now, the “proximity-connectivity nexus” is being “stretched” (2016: 70) by technologies entering the empty spaces in our environment and, as we can see from emerging news bulletins, the public are yet to become familiar with the sight of drones in the air around them.

This leads me to the next of Jensen’s concepts, that of “volumetric thinking” (2016: 71) which is what architects and designers are leaning towards: “The drones in fact articulate the need for further three-dimensional understanding of cities, since many planners have perceived the city by and large on a two-dimensional surface.” (2016: 70). This includes planning and considering the space around the buildings and landscape, which, since December 2018, Gatwick Airport has enforced:

Gatwick Airport not has a flight restriction on drones 5km around the airport, and drones cannot be flown higher than 400ft in the air. Both are offences punishable by fines and up to 5 years in prison. This is an example of Jensen’s “volumetric thinking” in which “the voids and volumes in-between buildings become subject of a new special imagination.” (2016: 71) In my opinion, the next ten years will see an increase in this kind of spacial policing, around airports, public and private spaces and buildings. It will also see an increase in criminal and propriety legislation written into contracts about the use of drones in certain areas.


BBC News. ‘Gatwick Airport drone attack: Police have no lines of enquiry’ <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-49846450 > accessed 02/04/2020

Gatwick Airport. ‘Drone Safety’ <https://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/aircraft-noise-airspace/airspace/drone-safety/ > accessed 02/04/2020

Jensen, O. (2016) ‘Drone city – power, design and aerial mobility in the age of “Smart Cities”’ Geographica Helvetica issue 71, pp 67-75.