Augmented Urban Reality in the New Yorker magazine


Interesting article illustrating how digital technology has reversed the human flows inwards, thus from suburbia back to city centres. “Being hyperconnected in the digital dimension” says Rose,  “appears only to make us want to feel hyperconnected in the physical as well.” I would have expected the author to elaborate more on the social aspect of this phenomenon, instead he turns to the technological one and introduces us to two brand new entries in the New York cityscape:

  • LinkNYC kiosks: sleek metal wedges that stand nine and a half feet tall—will offer not just free Wi-Fi but also device charging, interactive maps, free phone calls, a red-button 911 hotline
  • Flow: a software platform that will integrate smartphone and sensor data with data from Google Maps to help city officials deal with traffic nightmares. it is an engine that will feed real-time traffic information to officials, enable them to reroute vehicles and adjust parking options on the fly.

Data visualization, available through the use of smartphones will help individuals navigate the urban landscape by lifting the barriers set by overpopulation. Just like Dr Snow’s London Ghost map helped estimate the cause for a cholera outbreak back in 1854 that cost the lives of 600 people, extensive digital data visualization freely available to alla is expected to do the same now.


Image: London Ghost Map. The data visualization on the map by Dr Snow helped determine a water pump as the source of the outbreak. Details and image available here

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