The Mobile City Conference
On February 28th 2008, the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) organized The Mobile City conference, in collaboration with the research programs ‘Mew Media, Public Sphere and Urban Culture’ (University of Groningen) and ‘Playful Identities’ (Erasmus University Rotterdam). The conference concerned the interplay of physical and digital spaces, and the influence of locative and mobile media on urban culture and identities.
As I entered the spacious hall of the NAi, the first thing that caught my eye was a table filled with Lego. The colorful interlocking plastic bricks and accompanying array of gear, figurines and other parts stand for imaginatively exploring scenarios and possibilities in a serious form of play. Contemporary cities are the realization of a vision that was once upon a time played with, perhaps even on a table filled with Lego. Similarly, Locative Media could be seen as a modern form of serious play, fostering creative thinking, as users build metaphors of their identities and experiences using new media technologies within a presented scenario. On the one hand, Locative Media offers new tools for designers to envision future planning; on the other hand designers will have to think differently about cities as the technology implicates mobility, practices of everyday life, politics and aesthetics.
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