Where Code Meets Concrete
Introducing the series Digital Frictions. What happens when the “smart city” encounters other forms of urban intelligence?
An indicator species in vinyl and metal, the streetside lockbox signals the rise of a short-term city.
Tools of Collective Intelligence
As building technologies from doorbells to thermostats claim to become ever “smarter,” how do they mesh with the social life of shared spaces?
Building the People's Internet
Communities on the front lines of the climate crisis have seen the immediate benefits of locally-managed digital infrastructure. But beyond resilience, grassroots networks are a test case for a collectively-forged technological future.
Connecting at the Counter
More than a convenience store, the humble bodega is a deeply networked site where neighborhood life intersects with larger scales of social, cultural and economic exchange — and a growing digital presence.
Disruption at the Doorstep
Facial recognition. Tenant screening platforms. Biometric databases. A new set of digital products seeks to disrupt the real estate industry. But these technologies are fast becoming weaponized against a familiar target of housing discrimination: working-class tenants of color.
From video-enabled visual interpretation to 3D audio effects, smartphone wayfinding apps have a lot to offer Blind users. But these new features are no substitute for public infrastructure — digital or otherwise — that accounts for nonvisual navigation of the built environment.
New digital technologies promise to fix common bugs and glitches in construction. But as the story of the world’s second-tallest modular tower reveals, the labor, politics, and material complexity of building don’t always follow rules of computation.
A Tour of Some Logistics Landscapes
From satellites to elevators, the technologies that coordinate the on-demand economy also organize our sense of what kind of world is possible and desirable.
Caught in the Spotlight
Networked technologies are setting the stage for new forms of urban surveillance. From Amazon’s Ring doorbell to the Detroit Police Department’s Project Green Light, what kinds of performances do digital tracking tools encourage people to put on?
About this Series
This series is guest-edited by Shannon Mattern.