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Book: The City as Interface

thecityasinterfaceIn “The City as Interface – How New Media Are Changing the City” Martijn de Waal shows how new technologies, on one level, contribute to the further individualization and liberalization of urban society. There is an alternative future scenario, however, in which digital media construct a new definition of the urban public sphere. In the process they also breathe new life into the classical republican ideal of the city as an open, democratic ‘˜community of strangers’ .

What happens to the urban public sphere, now that we are increasingly experiencing the city through the interfaces of our mobile screens?

Digital and mobile media are changing the way urban life takes shape and how we experience our built environment. On the face of it, this is mainly a practical matter: thanks to these technologies we can organize our lives more conveniently. But the rise of ‘˜urban media’ also presents us with an important philosophical issue: How do they influence the way that the city functions as a community?

That’s the main question I address in The City as Interface, exploring both examples of urban media experiments as well as historical case studies in urban planning.

Martijn de Waal is assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam and co-founder of The Mobile City, a research group that investigates the influence of digital media technologies on urban life, and the implications for urban design.