Technology and Public Space: Designing the public domain for mobile media technology

The success of Facebook, MySpace, online dating agencies and similar social technologies have proven that people continue to be interested in connecting and sharing their interests and knowledge… via technology.

While contemporary technologists and philosophers argue the social technologies have succeeded in creating a “new” and “virtual” public space, the truth is much of this activity is occurring in the physical public realm … while people grab their lunch in a food court, wait for the bus or train, linger on the steps of Town Hall for a friend, or anticipate better surf at the beach.

Access to technology anywhere, anytime need not just be an individual pursuit, but an enabler to bring people together. No longer physically tied to the classroom, boardroom, or office space, people can gather outside the traditional learning and working environments to learn and work! Much like the shift from the traditional office to open planned, activity based workplaces, the opportunity exists for mobile media technologies to provide the foundation for new activities and uses within the public realm and, consequently, the reconsideration of how those places are designed.

Technology magazines dedicate much editorial to virtual space, psychologists have researched how digital technologies have altered accepted behaviours within the physical public realm, public artists have explored digital media interactions … the question that is posed here is how can current technology breath new life and activation into the urban environment and how does it change the design public domain?

Ms Michelle Cramer
Woods Bagot
Sydney NSW

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