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].



Week 9 Drones

Our demand for constant connectivity and the consumption of large amounts of data is ever growing and providers are looking at new ways to service this demand in a Big Data society. While drone technology has traditionally been used as a surveillance-gathering tool it also has the ability to allow users to communicate over vast distances in real-time without disrupting or dropping the signal and processing large amounts of data at the same time. Jensen describes the ability to provide this type mobility service as ‘stretchiness’.

Using drone technology in this way is currently being explored to provide mobile Wi-Fi hotspots “with an equivalent of 4G smartphone connectivity … in remote areas where internet provision is bad or missing” (Jensen, 2016. PG 70) and was first explored by Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency in the US to provide Internet connectivity on the battlefield. However others are exploring this idea in a civilian setting in the Britain the Department of Transport are discussing the use of drone technology to improve the wireless internet signals on trains (Paton, 2015) and “industry giants such as Google and Facebook are developing … solar panel airplanes to provide network infrastructure on a nation-wide scale.” (Kyung-Nam Park et al, 2016. PG2). Facebook recently described the test flights, which will develop a new service to provide Internet access to developing nations as a great success due to the longevity of the flight duration (Hern, 2016).

Apart from the flexibility of mobility of using drone technology to provide an value added network connectivity in hard to reach / developing areas it also negates the issue of rebuilding / building a static infrastructure before providing a service “in disaster areas, ground network instalment is limited …due to various obstacles such as piles of debris.” (Kyung-Nam Park et al, 2016. PG2). This technology has the ability to build a network infrastructure instantly. Furthermore the use of a Net-Drone (Internet Drone Technology) will help to optimize the performance of static based transmission as “The deployment of net-drone can improvise a network infrastructure… the service provider can utilize them to enhance the network” (Kyung-Nam Park et al, 2016. PG2).



Hern, A. (2017). Facebook’s solar-powered drone under investigation after ‘accident’. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/22/facebook-solar-powered-aquila-drone-under-investigation [Accessed 10 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.

Park, K., Kang, J., Cho, B., Park, K. and Kim, H. (2016). Handover Management of Net-Drones for Future Internet Platforms. International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks, 12(3), p.5760245.

PATON, G., 2015, Jun 11. Drones could boost wi-fi on rail network Edition 2]. The Times, 2. ISSN 01400460.

WK 8 Digital Urban Gaming

Digital Technology is no longer easy to contain. The mobilization of this technology means that the user can interact with the virtual world anywhere giving us the opportunity to experience existing spaces differently. As the technology weaves through our cities these spaces become smart spaces. Foth et al defines the smart cities as spaces that take advantage of cloud computing and broadband connectivity to gather big data. Apps developed to interact with these spaces often use sensor networks and urban interfaces to impact on the users environment. Foth et al describes implementation of the structure as a “Top down” (2016. Pg.3) approach as data is stored on the information gathered for corporate use . Foth et al goes onto describe how the user interacts and engages with the technology as a ‘bottom up’ approach.

Using this type of technology to interact with gameplay has seen the launch of the gaming phenomenon Pokemon Go last summer. I interviewed an 18-year-old Fine Art student about his experience of using the app. He explained that he used the app when babysitting to allow those he was looking after to interact with their immediate environment creating a whole new universe. Foth et al highlighted that this type of gameplay had a positive experience on it users that “develop a platform for inspiring playfully motivation in players to reconnect with their environment” (Foth et al, 2016. Pg. 17).

While Hjorth and Richrdson agreed that the interactivity of the game with the users immediate environment was positive. There were elements of the game that “from productive social dimensions…to the darker debates around isolation, safety, surveillance and risk.” (Hjorth and Richardson, 2017. Pg. 4). This was an element bought up by the fine art student who thought that engagement with the game meant that you would not always be aware of your surroundings and this could endanger the user who’s focus on the screen would mean that they were not aware of potential hazards.


Foth, M. Hudson-Smith, A. and Gifford, D. (2016). Smart Cites Social Capital, and Citizens at Play: A Critique and a Way Forward. In Research Handbook on Digital transformations. Cheltenham. Edward Elgar Publishing, pp 203-221

Hjorth, L. and Richardson, I. (2017). Pokémon GO: Mobile media play, place-making, and the digital wayfarer. Mobile Media & Communication, 5(1), pp.3-14.


Week 6 City Dashboards and Open Data

City Dashboards and benchmarking were developed to measure the performance of a city against best practice. The Dashboard displays data that can be statistically analysed and can be viewed as objective, factual and trustworthy. It allows those monitoring the data to gather important information at a glance as “indicators are viewed as vital sources of evidence … such as planning, environmental and social issues” (Kitchin et al, 2015. PG 09)

Information gathered is often used to govern how a city operates within its spaces. This monitoring falls into two categories self-securitisation of risk encountered in an environment and how a city orders and regulates itself. As the data gather revels patterns and trends within a city. Those using the data have the ability to compare areas whether by country regions or cities.

However, the validity of how the data is represented should be scrutinised when used as a comparisons. An example of this would be as part of a smart city initiative a navigational type app that gathers data to inform and the user around a city. The output of the information given could be bias dependent on the location of the city. Elements of the data have been used to marginalised sections of society and eventually cause tension. Leszczynski documented this as she discussed the use neighbourhood safety applications, which in many cases caused offence to areas in large cities, which these apps highlighted as avoidance areas due to crime rates and social deprivation.

When this information is packaged for general consumption it could also limit the option of the user for example when “Google Maps search for ‘restaurant’ in Tel Aviv conducted from the same location in Arabic and Hebrew … the results … Arab speakers directed to Arab sectors of the city; Hebrew speakers directed to Jewish quarters” (Leszczynski, 2016, PG 1695). The data gathered made assumption of user based on the language input that limited their options.

The overall use of dashboards to gather information and govern area within our society is a useful tool, which enables to user to digest data in a palatable format. However, there needs to be an air of caution when using this information on a commercial basis often the information communicated can view as bias




Citydashboard.org. (2017). CityDashboard: London. [online] Available at: http://citydashboard.org/london/ [Accessed 13 Mar. 2017].


Kitchin, R., Lauriault, T. and McArdle, G. (2015). Knowing and governing cities through urban indicators, city benchmarking and real-time dashboards. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 2(1), pp.6-28.


Leszczynski, A. (2016). Speculative futures: Cities, data, and governance beyond smart urbanism. Environment and Planning A, 48(9), pp.1691-1708.

WK 5 Locative Narrative

In a world where our entertainment is consistently being consumed through digital devices, has the element of freedom through wireless technology allowed us to break the physical boundaries of how we interact with different forms of story telling. It is a familiar site to see commuters watch a film on their smartphone or tablet as they travel to and from work. But the use of digital technology has evolved further to enable us to interact with the way we use public spaces. Storytellers and designers have started use the idea of trans media to interact with the public at a personal and local level. Ritchie states, “ digitally mediated stories afford greater interactivity…provide digital and physical wayfind systems that allow audiences to successfully navigate the narratives.” (Ritchie, 2014. PG 57-58)


The model of locative narrative has been designed to unfold over time as the participant journey through the path set out. A good example of this has been used at the Metal Art School ‘The Dementia Project” in South End on Sea. The project gave those with dementia the opportunity to “share stories and experiences” (NetPark, 2017). Using digital apps storytellers enhanced the experience of visitors to Chalkwell Park as they shared their stories through digital devices such as smart phones and tablets. Participants familiarize themselves with the spaces within the park by allowing the narrative of the storytellers to take them on a journey through the space


This type of activity gives a voice to those in the local area as they share their stories with other residence. While it enhances the visitor experience the narrative of a story has been set along a particular path which guides the participants through the space however there are constraints to this type of storytelling interactivity in order to gain the full experience a participant will need to follow the path set out





Berry, C., Harbord, J. and Moore, R. (n.d.). Public space, media space. 1st ed.


Metal. (2017). NetPark – The Dementia Project – Metal. [online] Available at: http://www.metalculture.com/projects/the-dementia-project/ [Accessed 11 Mar. 2017].


Ritchie, J. 2014. The Affordances and Contraints of Mobile Locative Narratives. In The Mo- bile Story. Narrative Practices with Locative Technologies, ed. J. Farman, 53–67. Oxon: Routledge.


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).

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.


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.