Impacts of Social Computing on the Architecture of Urban Spaces
Foth, Marcus & Sanders, Paul S. (2008) Impacts of Social Computing on the Architecture of Urban Spaces. In Aurigi, Alessandro & De Cindio, Fiorella (Eds.) Augmented Urban Spaces: Articulating the Physical and Electronic City. Ashgate, Aldershot, UK, pp. 73-91.
The development of increasingly compact cities draws critical attention to the design and architecture of apartment buildings and their role as elemental components of urban renewal. At the same time, new media and information and communication technology afford networked individualism and emerging social formations that require a re-conceptualisation of the online vs. offline dichotomy. Public space is becoming a complex hybrid in which members of what Watters calls 'urban tribes' traverse seamlessly between cyberspace and physical space. This paper introduces an Australian case study of residents in three inner-city apartment complexes. Observations and interview results are used to illustrate the interaction between residents and public space, their friends, and their neighbours. The discussion of these findings highlights that there are unfulfilled promises and unmet challenges in the design and architecture of both virtual and physical public space to support the communication and interaction needs of urban dwellers. We suggest three areas of engagement: serendipitous encounters between residents, sociocultural animation of neighbourhoods, and digital augmentation of public space.
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