Anthony Townsend is a research director at the Institute for the Future (IFTF) in Palo Alto, California.
About two years ago, after teaching a course at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program on "Digitally Mediated Urban Space", I wrote an article for the architectural design journal Praxis that sought to do do two things: 1) make sense of the wide array of digital technologies that are being deployed in urban space, and 2) present a couple of places that I thought exemplified good and bad "design" of digital public spaces.
Recently, my research on context-aware computing - computing based on sensors and artificial intelligence - has led me to revisit this piece. Around the same time, I got a call from Lucas Graves, a friend who writes for Wired, and was doing a piece on technologies that are "perpetually around the corner". Lucas was mainly interested in things like videophones, but it coincided with a turn in my research to the applications side of context-awareness: smart cities, smart places, smart homes, and smart objects. As an urban planner, I immediately gravitated to thinking about smart cities and smart places, but wondered in the back of my mind - is this something that is really happening, or just another one of those technologies that are perpetually around the corner?
Friday, February 23, 2007 - 12:07pm PST
As a note of introduction, I am a Master's student in Community Planning at the University of Maryland. I'm happy to be part of this exciting project.
With a series of new urban libraries opening in U.S. cities recent years, its been said we're living through an 'urban library renaissance.' Whether it is the enthusiastic reception of the new Seattle library, or lending and attendance up in urban Canadian libraries, there seems to be an increased awareness of the critical role libraries play, even in the information age.
However, no such renaissance has happened here in Washington, D.C. -- at least not yet. Here the former mayor's plans to build a new library were stalled by what the Washington Post has termed the 'Mies Mystique.'
Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 5:41am PST
This is my first blog post on this network and I'm happy to be here. For 1.5 years, I've been blogging by myself at greeneconomics.blogspot.com and this is the first time that I've been a "team" player. I'm hoping that debates and discussions on important policy issues take place here and I'll try to do my part to not be boring!
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - 8:28pm PST
A long time ago in a previous design office, I made the mistake of engaging a light rail fanatic in a debate about whether Peachtree Street in Atlanta should be adorned with a light rail line. The debate turned into a protracted email diatribe about the pros and cons of light rail and whether this specific idea made any sense.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - 8:25pm PST
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has visited Downtown L.A.'s Skid Row that the city has a serious homelessness problem -- with more people living on the street than any other city in the nation. A recent article in the Economist focused on the recent crackdown by the city's police on the homeless population of skid row. With more and more residents moving into the area, and city officials keen to clean up downtown's streets, police chief William Bratton committed additional police officers to patrol the area to round up criminals (and presumably break up the population of street dwellers).
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - 8:49am PST
Greetings Planetizen readers! I'd like to welcome everyone to our new blog -- called Planetizen Interchange. This is our latest effort to provide exposure to new ideas, encourage discourse that cuts across disciplinary boundaries, and bring together allied professionals.
Friday, February 16, 2007 - 8:35am PST
I've just about finished researching and writing an article about the implications for planning in a virtual environment called Second Life
If you're one of the 578,672 people worldwide who participate in the virtual world called Second Life, you are empowered. You use the game's virtual environment to interact with others, design buildings, develop communities, or even construct your own island, complete with an economy, design guidelines, and many of the same issues and problems that come with a real community.
Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 7:25am PDT
emails to say that Brian Deagon's article for Investor's Business Daily, "Cities' Wi-Fi Efforts Might Pose Threat To Cable, Telecom
" is a good article and reminds him of "the early cable days!"
More cities are starting to manage Internet access much like they manage electricity, water and transportation services. That trend could cost cable and telecom providers billions of dollars in lost business.
As of July 1, 59 cities were running broadband Internet networks, up from 38 a year earlier, according to MuniWireless.com, which tracks this subject.
Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 8:36pm PDT
The surging housing market and development pressure in Philadelphia has resurrected what was once an all but dormant profession - planning. Meeting after meeting is being held with community leaders, politicians, developers and others to discuss the current lack of planning in the City in the wake of this widespread change. The concensus of each meeting is that the City needs a Master Plan. Further, there also appears to be a major call to finally empower the planning commission which has, for years, been cast aside as a step-child of City governance.
Friday, July 21, 2006 - 1:22pm PDT
Portland's river is a central gathering place for the city. New York lives between two rivers. A river defines Washington DC's geography.
In Los Angeles, the river is a concretized ditch.
But that river was always wilder than the others. Until the last century it ran not north-south -- its course today -- but east-west, emptying in Santa Monica instead of San Pedro. I have an antique map of Los Angeles on my living room wall, the first one published (1849 or so), and the river does indeed run perpendicular to the one I grew up driving over, or next to.
Friday, June 23, 2006 - 10:25pm PDT