Computer-IEEE Computer Society, Vol. 39(9): 36-72, 2006.
1. Imagining the City: The Cultural Dimensions of Urban Computing
Amanda Williams; Paul Dourish
Much urban computing research focuses on cities as generic settings and containers of action. However, cities can also be viewed as products of historically and culturally situated practices and
flows. When we view urban areas in this context, rather than as collections of people and buildings, infrastructure and practice are closely entwined.
Editorial comments: "In “Imagining the City: The Cultural Dimensions of Urban Computing,” Amanda Williams and Paul Dourish set the scene by considering current missteps in designing technologies for the city, reminding us that our endeavors, however well-meaning, continue to dangerously ignore the heterogeneity of cities and public spaces. Williams and Dourish consider the social context of urban life and explore issues of mobility within public spaces. They point out that understanding the aspects of public spaces that make them legible to the inhabitants is critical to understanding the diverse needs of their inhabitants. "
2. Facilitating Social Networking in Inner-City Neighborhoods
The success of new social networking systems for residents of inner-city neighborhoods depends on the software’s ability to animate and support meaningful interaction between proximate users, to
network serendipitous social encounters, and to seamlessly integrate with the way interaction takes place in existing urban social networks.
Editorial comments: "In “Facilitating Social Networking in Inner-City Neighborhoods,” Marcus Foth explores the friends and strangers component of public spaces that Williams and Dourish touch upon, emphasizing sociality (friends and strangers) in public space. Foth investigates systems for local, geographically proximal communities where people are brought together simply by virtue of living in the same physical spaces. His research illustrates how existing systems misread the needs and desires of inhabitants of spaces such as apartment complexes. The article suggests that there is a need—indeed, a market—for collaborative systems, which will be difficult to provide if we rely on existing ideas about “communities.” "
3. Designing Urban Pervasive Systems
Vassilis Kostakos; Eamonn O’Neill; Alan Penn
A conceptual framework for designing and analyzing pervasive systems describes three aspects of these systems in the urban environment—architectural space, interaction space, and information
sphere—and a spectrum of information “publicness.”
Editorial comments: "In contrast, Vassilis Kostakos, Eamonn O’Neill, and Alan Penn further explore the concept of legibility in “Designing Urban Pervasive Systems.” They examine relationships between architectural and interaction spaces and information spheres and consider how people interpret urban spaces as private, social, or public. Both of these articles propose usable analytical frameworks for designing and evaluating urban environments. "
4. Public Pervasive Computing: Making the Invisible Visible
Jesper Kjeldskov; Jeni Paay
The increasing deployment of pervasive computing technologies in urban environments has inspired researchers to explore the intersections between physical, social, and digital domains.The
multidisciplinary Just-for-Us project is developing a mobile Web service designed to facilitate new forms of interaction by adapting content to the user’s physical and social context.
Editorial comments: "In “Public Pervasive Computing: Making the Invisible Visible,” Jesper Kjeldskov and Jeni Paay address a combination of sociality, mobility, and legibility issues as they describe lessons learned from testing an interactive prototype system for use in a public space. In documenting the successes and failures of their prototype system, they illustrate a productive application of architectural methods, social theory, ethnographic research, and iterative design as a way to achieve functional, usable, and useful systems. "
5. Simulations for Urban Planning: Designing for Human Values
Janet Davis; Peyina Lin; Alan Borning; Batya Friedman; Peter H. Kahn Jr.; Paul A. Waddell
Sophisticated simulation systems such as UrbanSim model the long-term impacts of transportation and land-use alternatives. Accounting for human values throughout the design process helps in
designing interactions that engage both planners and citizens in the decision-making process.
Editorial comments: "“Simulations for Urban Planning: Designing for Human Values” by Janet Davis and colleagues provides an overview of several lines of research that ultimately culminated in a successful urban development system. The authors summarize how researchers applied a com combination of conceptual, empirical, and technical investigations rooted in theoretical frameworks of public policy and political science. They describe a full-scale system that has been piloted and used to support public participation in developing policies in urban communities around the world."