Maintaining a Public Sphere in Sentient Cities

Cities are becoming smarter, as buildings and infrastructures become retrofitted with sensory technology. The question this raises is how this will change our perception of the public sphere, according to Martijn de Waal.
May 7, 2011, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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This is an excerpt from a chapter in the book "Sentient City Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space" edited by Mark Shepard.

"[T]he debate about the Sentient City can be understood as a dispute concerning the urban public sphere. On the one hand, the rise of sentient technologies is said to contribute to the (already on-going) demise of urban public spaces such as town squares, multifunctional streets and public parks. On the other hand, there is a hope that those same sentient technologies could enable new forms of publicness and exchange. These are no longer based on bringing people with different backgrounds and opinions spatially together (as in cof­feehouses or town squares), but on the organization of publics around particular issues of concern."

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Published on Thursday, April 21, 2011 in The Mobile City
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