Adam has an interesting query/blogpost about "what do you feel are the most significant contemporary developments in urban informatics? The most resonant projects, the most powerful interventions, the scariest precedents?". That's quite an important question that I try to ask myself for a while. Since I have not definite answer, I tried to pick up some examples I find relevant to get a messy list of "urban computing" projects:
- Location-based services: be they single-user (navigational devices such as personal GPS navigator) and ones who can have a social layer (see DASH for instance) but also mobile social software
- Urban screens and interactive billboards (see more about this here).... that can display representations which allow to make explicit invisible or implicit phenomena: blogging pigeon, Real Time Rome (among other Senseable City projects), AIR, undersound or Tripwire, etc.)
- open mapping projects (like open street map) and other geospatial web applications (see Jo Walsh's stuff, especially here piece about MUDlondon) a la place-based annotations (Urban tapestries among lots of others).
- Geographical Information Systems (./ although there would be a lot to say about this)
- pervasive games (no list about this here but you know what I am talking about)
- Identification systems such as these RFID cards you now have in most occidental cities in subways.
- Defensive Space can also be supported by technologies: not only CCTV, Vsee for example the mosquito sounds to avoid teenagers loitering
- Lazarus/zombie devices
- infrastructures can also count: think about wiring, server farms or gigantic telecom hotels.
But of course, it's a bit awkward to limit oneself to purely urban/contextualized projects: a cell phone, web mash-ups, Twitter or whistles might well count too.
This is really non-exhaustive and raw list, there are multiple points of entries that can be used to go beyond this: technologies (RFID, GPS...), the number of users (single-user, multi-users), the role (navigation, entertainment), the nature of content (delivered by an institution, user-generated, sensor-captured), the context of the project (product, services, art piece), etc. Well, that's a starting point for now.
Then, the next question that I particularly interested in is not the projects but the activity of people in contemporary cities (as you may have noticed in this blog): people putting stickers on the streets, fake grass, crocheted stuff on signs, fake heart stickers on traffic lights, etc.