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CeBIT Spatial@gov 2012 - Kurt Iveson, Senior Lecturer in Urban Geography, University of Sydney
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CeBIT Spatial@gov 2012 - Kurt Iveson, Senior Lecturer in Urban Geography, University of Sydney


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  • 1. Mobile augmented reality for ademocratic cityDr Kurt IvesonSchool of GeosciencesUniversity of
  • 2. Mobile augmented reality and the cityFrom ‘how do I find the nearest pizza?’ to ‘howdo we make the city better?’….
  • 3. Mobile augmented reality and the cityHow can mobile augmented reality be utilized tocultivate active citizenship and democraticparticipation in our cities?
  • 4. Presentation outline1. Mobile augmented reality as a form of urban media2. Applications of mobile augmented reality in urban planning and politics: towards a typology3. Policy implications
  • 5. 1. Mobile augmented realityBurgeoning medium,growing array of…•Platforms•Devices•Layers Google Glass eyeware
  • 6. 1. Mobile augmented realityMobile AR applications require:• Geo-coded digital ‘reference image’• Geo-coded digital ‘augment’• Internet enabled, location-aware mobile media device (eg smart phone, tablet, AR glasses)• AR software platform• Access to the augmented place
  • 7. 1. Mobile augmented reality‘Augmented’ reality … really? – Urban ‘reality’ has always been ‘augmented’: cities as sites and objects of mediated discussion that constitute ‘urban information overlay’ – These mediations are crucial to multiple, dynamic, contested meanings of place
  • 8. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsThere are various imaginations/aspirations foruses of mobile AR to enhance urbancitizenship…
  • 9. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsSome useful questions to ask of differentapplications…•What is the source/nature of the ‘augment’?•What vision of the ‘good citizen’ animates theapplication?•What vision of the ‘good city’ animates theapplication?
  • 10. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsService-related projections NYC Subway Service update (Source: Google Glass Promo)
  • 11. We think technology should work for you—to bethere when you need it and get out of your waywhen you don’t. A group of us from Google[x]started Project Glass to build this kind oftechnology, one that helps you explore andshare your world, putting you back in themoment.Google[x], April 2012
  • 12. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsBuilding/development projections VTT Mobile AR visualisation of plans for Jätkäsaari district, Helsinki (Source:
  • 13. Although principally a design tool, augmentedreality is also a tool for communication, one thatcan be used to disseminate a more realisticpicture of construction projects in support ofresident feedback and decision-making.Charles Woodward, VTT, April 2012
  • 14. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsNarrative/archival projections Ryerson Architecture Mobile App, Toronto
  • 15. Not only do we get to see the building, by usingaugmented reality to geo-locate us we can alsosee historically what has been on that site.Professor Vincent Hui, Ryerson University
  • 16. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsInteractive projections Verbeterdebuurt, on Layar
  • 17. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsInteractive projections German Green Party AR App, Berlin
  • 18. By looking around through the layer viewer youreally get a good sense of how active you, yourneighbours and the council are in actuallyimproving the neighbourhood.Remco Vroom and Johannes la Poutre, TABWorldmedia, 2011
  • 19. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsDissident projections AR Occupy Wall Street, 2011
  • 20. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsDissident projections AR Ad Takeover, Times Square NYC. Artist: Ron English
  • 21. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsDissident projections Re*Public Reimaging of Bradbury Building, LA. Artist: Momo
  • 22. Re*Public wants to change how we curate publicspaces. No longer would artists and individuals beconstrained from visually interacting with thestreets they live on and participating in publicmedia. … We live on a massive concrete canvas. Weall have a right to the city and to start re-imaginingpublic space.Re*Public, by Heavy Projects and Public AdCampaign, 2012
  • 23. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsSources of ‘augment’… – Official – Curated (institutional, activist, etc) – Crowd-sourced
  • 24. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsVisions of ‘good citizen’… – From information-seeking to information- producing – From utility-maximising to encounter-seeking – From conformist upkeep to dissident change- making
  • 25. 2. A typology of urban AR applicationsVisions of ‘good city’… – Information rich, from real-time transparency to historical complexity – From unified community to multi-layered – From efficient to accountable to actively contested
  • 26. 3. Policy implicationsFor mobile AR to contribute to a democraticcity, I think we want applications across thesedimensions…… if that’s what we want, what are some of thepolicy challenges ahead?
  • 27. 3. Policy implicationsTechnical issues: access to data, access tolocation services, and other stuff you knowmore about than me…
  • 28. 3. Policy implicationsAccess to, and production of, AR depends uponphysical access to urban public realm... – Overcoming exclusionary public space regulation – Avoiding curtailment of public digital photography Aldwych Station, London Photo: Tim Allen
  • 29. 3. Policy implicationsMe and my digital shadow: ‘locational privacy’as a new frontier of privacy regulation Log of iPhone movenents, generated by “iTracker” app
  • 30. 3. Policy implications The Edge, State Library ofSkills ‘capacity Queensland, Brisbaneconstraints’: wideningaccess to augmentationskills and equipment
  • 31. Final reflection…What does AR for a democratic city look like? On the dual meaning of ‘knowing your place’…