The Digital City
Media and the Social Production of Place
Critical Cultural Communication
Published by: NYU Press
288 pages, 152.00 x 228.00 mm, 8 black and white illustrations
- ISBN: 9781479882199
- Published: January 2020
Shows how digital media connects people to their lived environments
Every day, millions of people turn to small handheld screens to search for their destinations and to seek recommendations for places to visit. They may share texts or images of themselves and these places en route or after their journey is complete. We don’t consciously reflect on these activities and probably don’t associate these practices with constructing a sense of place. Critics have argued that digital media alienates users from space and place, but this book argues that the exact opposite is true: that we habitually use digital technologies to re-embed ourselves within urban environments.
The Digital City advocates for the need to rethink our everyday interactions with digital infrastructures, navigation technologies, and social media as we move through the world. Drawing on five case studies from global and mid-sized cities to illustrate the concept of “re-placeing,” Germaine R. Halegoua shows how different populations employ urban broadband networks, social and locative media platforms, digital navigation, smart cities, and creative placemaking initiatives to turn urban spaces into places with deep meanings and emotional attachments. Through timely narratives of everyday urban life, Halegoua argues that people use digital media to create a unique sense of place within rapidly changing urban environments and that a sense of place is integral to understanding contemporary relationships with digital media.
Tracking the relationship of bodies, digital media, and the urban landscape, Germaine Halegoua raises important questions about how smart technologies mediate our assumptions about the everyday. She argues that these values, though, are not simply imposed from above, but are negotiated through the very practices of 'smart' users. A timely read that invites us to consider the city, its people, and its digital cartographies as a new ecosystem that hangs in the balances of access and technological literacy. ~Heidi Rae Cooley, author of Finding Augusta: Habits of Mobility and Governance in the Digital Era
It is easy to criticize technology for diluting true life experiences when one is connected to it… Halegoua argues that the relationship between people and digital technology need not be disruptive. ~Choice
Showcases, with capacious research, the diversity of ways in which people create new meanings of place with technology. Halegoua writes against the trope that computer technologies will eventually dissociate physical places from social environments ... By centering digital media in urban studies—and centering the urban environment in the study of digital media—Halegoua reveals how the city becomes desirable, familiar, knowable, or unique as it is refracted through mobile phones, locative media, urban dashboards, or even broadband networks. Digital technologies are not distracting us from place; they are enabling, linking, and amplifying new meanings. ~Public Books