From smart city to smartphone city : towards a telematic digital strategy in urban environments

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2017
Full metadata record
Adam Greenfield has debunked the ‘Smart City’ as an unfeasible modernist vision. However, cities are already complex interactive systems, grown from the bottom up according to a complex combination of static, dynamic and interactive systems. To represent a city as an interactive system would be as complex as the design of a future ‘Smart City’ itself. This research investigates the user’s experience of the city. It focuses not on individual interactive touch points, but on understanding urban user experience from a macro-perspective in the context of the everyday life of the digital age. The research positions itself between contextual bases: digital product and service design (Jan Chipchase) and Public Life Studies (Jan Gehl). It spans digital products and services via individual systems in specific environmental contexts, and Public Life Studies from a spatial design perspective. The goal here is to investigate the interplay between the two. Further, the research investigates the performative and telematic qualities of digital implementations in public space, based on the proliferation of Smartphones and spatial interaction design in the urban environment. It thereby extends the notion of engaging with virtual and mixed realities via digital interfaces, anticipating, with reference to Villem Flusser’s ‘Telematic Society’, the theory of engaging with a telematic reality. The research findings point to a shift away from a Smart City approach towards a ‘Smartphone City’ approach, arguing for a stronger integration of Smartphones in the urban fabric rather than the deployment of new and expensive infrastructures.
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