Author Archives: Martijn de Waal

Semantic Wayfinding, mental maps and the keyhole problem of GPS-navigation

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Last week I visited an interesting presentation at Harvard’s Urban Mobilities Group. They had invited Austrian cartographer Georg Gartner who gave a talk about his ‘semantic wayfinding‘ project. Semantic wayfinding is an approach to navigation media that takes human thinking, language and action as a

Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics: a matter of ‘U-City’ or ‘U-Citizens?’

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Marcus Foth’s Handbook of research on Urban Informatics

I just finished reading Marcus Foth’s Handbook of research on Urban Informatics. It’s an edited volume as thick as a fist, packed with essays that when taken altogether give a great overview of this exciting new interdisciplinary field of research and design practices. So what

On the design of geographic interfaces: verisimilitude -vs- subjective experiences

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Last night I attended Michael Naimark’s interesting lecture at the Rotterdam Film festival. This year’s edition of the festival wants to broaden the discussion on ‘screen culture’, and Naimark took up on this theme by focusing on maps and globes as important elements of our

Film festival Rotterdam: What content makes Urban Screens interesting? Let’s move beyond the cinematic.

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This week I visited the international filmfestival in Rotterdam. For this year’s edition the festival left the confinement of the city’s film theatres and expanded onto three urban screens erected in the city’s public space. During the festival three specially commissioned films are projected on

Towards a Myspace urbanism?

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In 1938 Chicago School Scholar Louis Wirth wrote the now famous article ‘Urbanism as a way of Life’. According to Wirth, the modern metropolises that had emerged in the preceding half-century or so, weren’t only striking for their until then unparalleled sizes and shapes. The

Rob van Kranenburg: The Internet of Things. A critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID

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On October 28th Rob van Kranenburg’s book The Internet of Things A critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID will be launched (5:00 pm, Waag Society, Amsterdam) A pdf download is already available at the Institute for Network Cultures website. The main

Interview with Adam Greenfield on designing for urban computing

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Adam Greenfield is one of the most interesting thinkers on many of themes that we regularly address at The Mobile City. He is head of design direction for service and user-interface design at Nokia, and is currently working on a book called “The City Is

The Big Sort, The Uses of Disorder and mobile media

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I just read two books – written almost 40 years apart – that signal the same urban problem: cities and towns in the United States are becoming increasingly segregated into monocultural lifestyle enclaves – like flocks to like. This made me wonder what role locative

ISEA 2008: Locative Media Core Works & Classifications

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Is there a number of crucial or core works in locative media? A corpus of best practices? At the International Symposium on Electronic Art it seemed that there might be; many presentations referred to the same set of examples. Some other presentations came up with

ISEA 2008: Visualizing the Real Time City

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At the end of last month, I attended the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA), that was held in Singapore. Although the juried exhibition of art works didn’t involve that many works on the themes of The Mobile City, the ISEA seminar had quite a

Scott McQuire’s The Media City

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The Media City by Scott McQuire

I just finished reading the highly interesting book The Media City by Scott McQuire. It is a philosophical approach to the role of media in the experience of the city. I found two insights worth sharing here. The first is that McQuire sees media not

The Mobile City @ ISEA2008

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I will be heading to Singapore next week to attend ISEA2008 (I’ll be there from July 21st until 30th). I will be presenting some of my own research (very much work in progress) on Urban Culture and New Media. If you will be around as

Just out/upcoming: some interesting summer reading on the mobile city

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I wanted to point our readers to three interesting (forthcoming) publications, that have been announced lately. Friday July 11th Anne Galloway will defend her dissertation titled A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FUTURE OF URBAN COMPUTING AND LOCATIVE MEDIA. I am very much looking forward to

Is GPS-navigation turning us into ‘Men without Qualities’?

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The Dutch Daily NRC Handelsblad published a highly interesting interview with retiring law-professor Egbert Dommering. He enters the current debate about new media, personal development and cultural authority by expressing his fear that the dominance of cultural systems for information retrieving like Google or GPS-Navigation

Video as suburban condition

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Not so long ago, at the Netherlands Media Art Institute, I came across an interesting installation by Martijn Hendriks, called ‘video as suburban condition’. The installation shows a loop of Youtube clips that most likeley we are all too familiar with: teenagers popping mentos in