To give you the taste of her article, here are her illustrated examples:
1. Pokémon Go phenomenon
“In ArchDaily, Patrick Lynch agrees the game gives users a heightened appreciation both for public space and the architectural and historical landmarks in their city. Apparently, so many players have flocked to the National Mall in Washington DC that the National Park Service has encouraged
rangers to help people find Pokémon, and learn about historical monuments in the process.
What makes a Pokémon space successful, Lynch suggests, is what makes any public space successful: easily accessible, open, with comfortable seating. “But unlike traditional plazas, whose development is often dictated by historical or economic motives,” he writes, “the success of a Pokémon space is entirely democratic.” Lynch points out the technology gives us a way of mapping how many people are using public places and for how long – and as a result, could allow us to interrogate the design of public space in real life.”
I would like to add these 3 observations too:
- 1. Urban gaming (or pervasive game or Location-based game) is really not a new thing. That exists since near 30 years. There are dozen and dozen of games/mobile apps/websites that were developed and used (and still are!). Even Niantic, the company behind Pokémon Go, is not new! But it seems that the real difference is that, if former location-based games aimed specified groups of players, Pokémon Go managed to recruit wider audience.
- 2. This changing of scale (from relatively confidential groups to mainstream) allows a deeper impact of the use itself of the public (or sometimes private) spaces but also a new position about location-based gaming. It’s no more a “geek” thing, it’s a trendy/cool thing. That means more mediatic coverage and so more offers from companies, administrations, councils, cultural institutions (and phenomenon largely studying by universities and PhD students (here and there)). This is new and here is the real novelty of the Pokémon Go wave: more involvement from third parties.
- 3. So, that means that there are definitely possibilities for new thoughts about public spaces, urban planning and way to consider inhabitants and workers as “users” of the city and public spaces and no longer only as a source of funds/security failure/voters/individual* (*pick your choice). BUT, this is IF the movement is well understood and well transformed. We can argue that Pokémon Go gamers are only fixed on their screens and nothing around them really matters as they are not really “in the real world” because only matters what is displaying on their screens. That is why there is a really interesting challenging transformation to operate here, to bring more people to be interested outside of their screens. To say short: be IN the space and not only ON.
The place of the photograph in public space
“Residents and visitors alike flocked to Brighton beach this week during the UK’s novelty heatwave, but how much did the scene differ to 110 years ago? Flashbak has published a brilliant set of colour photographs taken on Brighton beach in 1906 by Otto Pfenninger, who created his own camera (formed of three colour-separated plates) to capture a full-colour image in a single exposure. The beach itself may not look very different, but the formal suits and long skirts might look a little out of place among today’s sunbathers.”
Pilot Project vs reality
“As Suzanne Goldenberg reported earlier this year, Masdar City – the UAE development originally conceived in 2006 as the world’s first “zero carbon city” – has become something of a green ghost town, with initial goals scrapped and the completion date pushed back from this year to 2030. Nevertheless, there are some that live and work in this bizarre and empty place: French photographer Etienne Malapert, whose work is published in Tech Insider, visited the city and captured the strange landscapes, striking architecture and rare residents. “I was very surprised by the emptiness in Masdar,” Malapert says. “One could almost speak of a dead, ghostly city.””
“As CityLab reports, urbanist and self-professed “data junkie” Chris Whong has created a new map of New York’s subway deserts – or, the areas in the city where it takes longer than 10 minutes to walk to a subway stop (much of Brooklyn, in particular). The map shows imaginary suggested subway lines to serve these areas.”
A city for its inhabitants
“A revised draft of Mumbai’s 2014-2034 Development Plan is open for the city’s residents to comment on until the end of July. As Darryl D’Monte writes in Scroll, one welcome thing to appear in the plan is the aspiration to create 1 million affordable homes in the city.
But D’Monte questions where, and how, this new housing will be built. Much of the land allocated for the purpose is currently part of no-development zones that were supposed to be protected – or otherwise only developed in ways that promote tourism, which affordable housing does not. Without proper planning, Mumbai’s ambitious affordable housing aspiration may, as architect-activist PK Das suggests, remain somewhat pie in the sky.”
A space for all in Cleveland
“Cleveland’s Public Square, a long-contested space in the heart of the city, has been transformed by the High Line’s landscape architect as part of a “renaissance” of the downtown district. Colin Woodard, writing in Politico, looks at the history of the Public Square and its recent “democratic” transformation. Situated close to this week’s Republican National Convention, the space has become a hub for public protests. Photographs in the New Yorker capture a Black Lives Matter protest which happened on Tuesday.”