ubiquitous city

What is ubiquitous about the ubiquitous city? — not that it is big, not that it is compact, not that it confronts fewer greenfields and larger populations. All of those are familiar factors, subject to sequential growth. All have been dealt with in the past in smaller compass. None of them is new. What then is new about the ubiquitous city?

The ubiquity of cyberspace is new.

4 Responses to “ubiquitous city”


  • “Wild Palms” is a 1993 TV series on DVD starring James Belushi and Kim Cattrall. It’s is a wonderful Klein bottle of an allegory declaring as it does the death of symbolism while presenting a range of symbols and signifiers that only a semiotician could untangle.

    But seriously… William Gibson has a walk-on part in the pilot, playing himself and introduced at a public function as the man who invented “cyberspace.”

    The production itself pays tribute to modern playwrights from Ionesco to Brecht, and it combines elements of Japanese noh drama with medieval European morality plays, not always seamlessly.

    It’s a heck of a show and then, in 1993, it was predicting the ubiquity of cyberspace by 2007. The message seems to be that this ubiquity may be not a good thing.

  • I’m re-posting this comment because it didn’t seem to register last time I hit enter. Sorry if it’s a duplicate…

    “Wild Palms” is a 1993 TV series on DVD starring James Belushi and Kim Cattrall. It’s is a wonderful Klein bottle of an allegory declaring as it does the death of symbolism while presenting a range of symbols and signifiers that only a semiotician could untangle.

    But seriously… William Gibson has a walk-on part in the pilot, playing himself and introduced at a public function as the man who invented “cyberspace.”

    The production itself pays tribute to modern playwrights from Ionesco to Brecht, and it combines elements of Japanese noh drama with medieval European morality plays, not always seamlessly.

    It’s a heck of a show and then, in 1993, it was predicting the ubiquity of cyberspace by 2007. The message seems to be that this ubiquity may be not a good thing.

  • The U-city City might be an attempt to conceptualize the interface between the digital and the physical layer within the city. If more and more interactions and transactions in the physical domain leave traces in cyberspace, the question emerges what can – and should be done with this information. Opportunities arise as quickly as privacy concerns. Some say that the search field as the main opening gate to all of the internet’s information might soon be replicated by means of automated tracking of humans’ behavior in physical space. This is of course interesting for commercial purpose – the recent release of the advertising/location-centric Operating System of the iPhone seems to support this point.

    However, the debate becomes more interesting when people start applying this information for purposes aiming at the common good. In developing countries (which often provide access to peoples’ cell phone interaction and location for research purpose), artificial intelligence and data mining techniques increasingly inform us about socio-economic, health and epidemic relationships. For new city development, the idea of a convergence of urban information flows by means of a digital urban operating system is intriguing if one could harness societal benefits this way. For example mobility, energy, waste and water systems could be integrated with information systems and with another this way. This alone will be a significant challenge – yet a further exploration of the boundary between the digital and physical urban layer might also provide means for a more informed, humane, and richer urbanism.
    Yet one could argue that the “new” should then probably emerge while keeping the “old” in mind, by building on Max Weiser’s original definition of ubiquitous computing as computing which is ubiquitously accessible, but invisible. The pulse of the city might become supported by and entangled with cyberspace, but the urban stage seems to still strive by means of social interaction, cultural growth, architecture, aesthetics – and millions of other parameters.
    In that sense, the U-city might rather become successful if we pay enough attention to the old …

  • The U-city City might be an attempt to conceptualize the interface between the digital and the physical layer within the city. If more and more interactions and transactions in the physical domain leave traces in cyberspace, the question emerges what can – and should be done with this information. Opportunities arise as quickly as privacy concerns. Some say that the search field as the main opening gate to all of the internet’s information might soon be replicated by means of automated tracking of humans’ behavior in physical space. This is of course interesting for commercial purpose – the recent release of the advertising/location-centric Operating System of the iPhone seems to support this point.

    However, the debate becomes more interesting when people start applying this information for purposes aiming at the common good. In developing countries (which often provide access to peoples’ cell phone interaction and location for research purpose), artificial intelligence and data mining techniques increasingly inform us about socio-economic, health and epidemic relationships. For new city development, the idea of a convergence of urban information flows by means of a digital urban operating system is intriguing if one could harness societal benefits this way. For example mobility, energy, waste and water systems could be integrated with information systems and with another this way. This alone will be a significant challenge – yet a further exploration of the boundary between the digital and physical urban layer might also provide means for a more informed, humane, and richer urbanism.
    Yet one could argue that the “new” should then probably emerge while keeping the “old” in mind, by building on Max Weiser’s original definition of ubiquitous computing as computing which is ubiquitously accessible, but invisible. The pulse of the city might become supported by and entangled with cyberspace, but the urban stage seems to still strive by means of social interaction, cultural growth, architecture, aesthetics – and millions of other parameters.
    In that sense, the U-city might rather become successful if we pay sufficient attention to the old…

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