In the last few years, a set of interactive, web-based technologies has reinvented the web. Myspace, Meetup, Wikipedia, Youtube have become household words, and millions of people worldwide are surfing social networking websites, writing blogs, and collaborating online in new ways. These so-called "Web 2.0" technologies were the inspiration for TIME's person of the year: You. What the true impact of these technologies will be, we must conceded it is, as TIME says, "a massive social experiment."
I drive the Bay Bridge just about every work day. I'm not proud of this fact. I never expected to be one of those dreaded suburban commuters, living off urban sprawl, the sole occupant of a compact car inching through rush hour traffic twice a day.
So sue me. Or better yet, give me enough money to afford a house in San Francisco. Until then, Berkeley it is.
But on my morning drive last week I saw a new feature amid the landscape of cargo containers that borders the southern side of the Bay Bridge toll plaza—that's on the East Bay side. It was a new billboard, depicted above. I have no idea how it works. But damn, is it bright. It's an active surface—it changes, presumably according to programming, cycling through a bunch of different ads. So what? Well, for one thing, it's the biggest, brightest one of these kind of signs I've ever seen, high resolution and bright enough to be seen in stark California sunlight. And second, it's just another step in the Blade Runnerfication of our cities.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. More after the jump.
I'm making a prediction: While the real estate market in RL (real life) is cooling off, the real estate market in Second Life (SL) is heating up.
I was recently contacted via IM (instant message) by Elliot Eldrich. I interviewed Elliot several months ago for a feature-length article about urban planning in Second Life. (The article appeared in the January, 2007 issue of the American Planning Association's Planning magazine, but is now also available online.)
Are politicians becoming obsolete in the age of the Internet? Are they simply the 'middle-men' that will be replaced by votes cast directly by citizens? This was the issue before a veritable rock-star cast of poliltical insiders from California and around the country. So what is the G-Word?
How useful is planning scholarship to planners in practice? Thirty years ago, the author of a British study of information use by planners found, "The journal is not a source of major importance to the planner in practice, though this statement must be taken to reflect inadequate privision and inadequate timeing for reading" (White, 1974). Perspectives differ, but at least some of the problem has been the difficulty of finding relevant scholarship at the moment it is needed. I believe that these difficulties have greatly reduced in the past few years, and that we are on the verge of an unprecedently increase in the use of scholarship in practice fueled by online bibliographic searching and retrieval. From both the scholar's and the practitioner's perspectives, this change will have substantial effects.