2.0-D City

We talk a lot about Government 2.0 and the infusion of communications technologies into public services on this blog.  As written about before, public services are, in many cases, location-based and require spatial understanding to be implemented efficiently.  Students at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design have developed a technology that ties these two ideas together (video below). Using simple flashing lights and long-exposure photography, the team literally mapped WiFi signals throughout Oslo.  The resulting 2-D patterns (planes made of small blue-glowing dashes) serve as an almost eerie reminder of our “2.0” world.  It would be really interesting to see these WiFi topography maps developed for particular socio-demographic sectors of the city, as well as 3-D maps composed of several of the 2-D topographies.

Check it out for yourself.

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

Immaterials: Light painting WiFi from Timo on Vimeo.

- Terra Curtis


Amphibious Sensor Network in New York City

This week Living Architecture Lab at Columbia University and the Environmental Health Clinic at New York University installed a complex network of sensors and mobile technology in New York City's water networks. The Amphibious Architecture project invites New Yorkers to explore their city from a different, more soggy, perspective. Straight from the source:

Amphibious Architecture submerges ubiquitous computing into the water—the substance that makes up 90% of the Earth’s inhabitable volume and envelops New York City but remains under-explored and under-engaged. Two networks of floating interactive tubes, installed at sites in the East River and the Bronx River, house a range of sensors below water and an array of lights above water. The sensors monitor water quality, presence of fish, and human interest in the river ecosystem. The lights respond to the sensors and create feedback loops between humans, fish, and their shared environment. An SMS interface allows citizens to text-message the fish, to receive real-time information about the river, and to contribute to a display of collective interest in the environment.

Instead of treating the rivers with a “do-not-disturb” approach, the project encourages curiosity and engagement. Instead of treating the water as a reflective surface to mirror our own image and our own architecture, the project establishes a two-way interface between environments of land and water. In two different neighbourhoods of New York, the installation creates a dynamic and captivating layer of light above the surface of the river. It makes visible the invisible, mapping a new ecology of people, marine life, buildings, and public space and sparking public interest and discussion.

For more pictures, video and information on the Amphibious Architecture Project in New York City, click here.