A day off in the cyberpark – how
the growing synergies between
nature and technology will soon
affect our workplaces and
l...
Do you use nature images as
screensavers or wallpapers?
Metaphors of nature in cyberspace

Images (c) Carolyn Black 2013
Biophilia
The innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike
processes E.O. Wilson 1984
Technobiophilia
The innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike
processes as they appear in technology
Voluntary Attention
• Voluntary attention is an
ancient response to
external alerts, fuelled by
adrenalin and necessary
fo...
Involuntary (Directed) Attention
Without directed attention
you may be
rash, uncooperative and
less competent.
But too muc...
Attention Restoration Theory (ART)
R&S Kaplan, The Experience of Nature, 1989

Nearby Nature

Restorative Settings
• Being...
How ART works in our connected lives
Being Away
physically or conceptually different from one’s usual
environment

Extent
...
How ART works in our connected lives
Soft Fascination
content or mental processes that engage attention
effortlessly & all...
Nearby Nature can be found...
• in the images and sounds
with which you choose to
personalize your
technologies
• in the o...
Biophilic Design
“Connects buildings to the natural
world, buildings where people feel and perform
better” (Kellert)
What you can do indoors
1. Pay attention to the
view from your
window
2. Use indoor plants to
your advantage
3. Connect wi...
What you can do outdoors
1. Go outside!
2. Create an outdoor
office
3. Grow things
4. Use your smartphone
to enhance your
...
What you can do online
1. Visit a virtual world
2. Play a video game
3. Add biophilic design to
your online spaces
4. Prac...
Pause for thought
• Biophilia is an ancient
influence in our lives which
affects our interactions with
the world, includin...
http://vimeo.com/27874539
So how will the growing synergies
between nature and technology affect
our workplaces and leisure time?
Digital Dualism
Digital dualists believe that
the digital world is “virtual”
and the physical world
“real.”
This is a fall...
What will the future be like?
• As physical and digital realities
are seamlessly
integrated, cyberspace is not a
place tha...
The Blue Gym
“A growing body of evidence
suggests that time spent
in or near natural water
environments, such as the
coast...
Biophilic Workplaces 1
Workplace Perks

Google London

http://mashable.com/2011/10/17/googlefacebook-twitter-linkedin-perk...
Biophilic Workplaces 2
New Apple HQ

New Twitter HQ
There is this longing.....
Leisure and Health
The High Line, NYC

Image by James Corner Field Operations
and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, courtesy of the
City of New York
Moscow gets a breath of fresh air

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/
nov/13/moscow-new-park-hotel-rossiya
Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed new
bridge over The Thames

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/travel/
4162/a-garden-bridge-a...
Escale Numérique (Digital Break)
Wifi outdoors
Bringing parks indoors - Arts in
Hospital, Dorset County Hospital
Video Games & Virtual Worlds
e.g. Flower/Second Life/Walden/Skylander
New Nesta £1m fund
•

•

•
•

•

Many of the UK's public parks face an uncertain
future with a reduction of up to 60 per c...
COST Action
Fostering knowledge about the relationship
between Information and Communication
Technologies and Public Space...
Main objective
is to create a research platform on the relationship
between information and communication technologies (IC...
Participants' expertises & Networking
4

Landscape design and planning

5

Urban sociology, behaviour research and public
...
Goals
Coordinate and enhance research efforts in how to deal with
opportunities and/or risks of ICT usage in public spaces...
Working Groups
Digital methods

Networking &
dissemination

Creating CyberPark

Urban ethnography

Conceptual reflection
A day off in the cyberpark?
Technobiophilic Design will connect technology to the
natural world to help people feel and pe...
Thank you

Sue Thomas
www.suethomas.net
@suethomas
#technobiophilia
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A day off in the cyberpark – how the growing synergies between nature and technology will soon affect our workplaces and leisure time

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A day off in the cyberpark – how the growing synergies between nature and technology will soon affect our workplaces and leisure time

Keynote presentation by Dr Sue Thomas, Visiting Fellow, The Media School, Bournemouth University www.suethomas.net

Seminar 11: ''Affective Digital Economy: Intimacy, Identity and Networked Realities''
ESRC Seminar Series: Digital Policy: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights
Friday November 29 2013, University of Leicester

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A day off in the cyberpark – how the growing synergies between nature and technology will soon affect our workplaces and leisure time

  1. 1. A day off in the cyberpark – how the growing synergies between nature and technology will soon affect our workplaces and leisure time Sue Thomas www.suethomas.net @suethomas #technobiophilia Seminar 11: ''Affective Digital Economy: Intimacy, Identity and Networked Realities'' ESRC Seminar Series: Digital Policy: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights Friday November 29 2013, University of Leicester
  2. 2. Do you use nature images as screensavers or wallpapers?
  3. 3. Metaphors of nature in cyberspace Images (c) Carolyn Black 2013
  4. 4. Biophilia The innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes E.O. Wilson 1984
  5. 5. Technobiophilia The innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes as they appear in technology
  6. 6. Voluntary Attention • Voluntary attention is an ancient response to external alerts, fuelled by adrenalin and necessary for survival in a wild world. • But such knee-jerk responses may not be useful in today’s world, so we need directed attention to inhibit them. Image: San Hunter with bow and arrow By Charles Roffey
  7. 7. Involuntary (Directed) Attention Without directed attention you may be rash, uncooperative and less competent. But too much directed attention leads to Directed Attention Fatigue (DAF). Symptoms include aggression, intolerance, a nd insensitivity to social cues.
  8. 8. Attention Restoration Theory (ART) R&S Kaplan, The Experience of Nature, 1989 Nearby Nature Restorative Settings • Being away - setting is physically or conceptually different from one’s usual environment • Extent - a setting sufficiently rich and coherent that it engages the mind and promotes exploration • Fascination (soft & hard) content or mental processes that engage attention effortlessly & allow you to rest your mind. • Compatibility - good fit between your inclinations and the kinds of activities supported by the setting.
  9. 9. How ART works in our connected lives Being Away physically or conceptually different from one’s usual environment Extent sufficiently rich and coherent that it engages the mind and promotes exploration
  10. 10. How ART works in our connected lives Soft Fascination content or mental processes that engage attention effortlessly & allow you to rest your mind. Compatibility good fit between your inclinations and the kinds of activities supported by the setting.
  11. 11. Nearby Nature can be found... • in the images and sounds with which you choose to personalize your technologies • in the objects that remind you of the natural world such as plants, window views, beautiful craft objects • in regular practices such as meditation, walking or gardening.
  12. 12. Biophilic Design “Connects buildings to the natural world, buildings where people feel and perform better” (Kellert)
  13. 13. What you can do indoors 1. Pay attention to the view from your window 2. Use indoor plants to your advantage 3. Connect with animals 4. Switch to biophilic computer kit
  14. 14. What you can do outdoors 1. Go outside! 2. Create an outdoor office 3. Grow things 4. Use your smartphone to enhance your outdoor experience via apps, GPS etc
  15. 15. What you can do online 1. Visit a virtual world 2. Play a video game 3. Add biophilic design to your online spaces 4. Practice connected awareness e.g. Online meditation
  16. 16. Pause for thought • Biophilia is an ancient influence in our lives which affects our interactions with the world, including technology. • How can we build upon this insight? • Can we harness and develop our technobiophilic instincts to address issues of attention, distraction, and isolation? • What should we be doing to make our online lives integrated, healthy, and mindful?
  17. 17. http://vimeo.com/27874539
  18. 18. So how will the growing synergies between nature and technology affect our workplaces and leisure time?
  19. 19. Digital Dualism Digital dualists believe that the digital world is “virtual” and the physical world “real.” This is a fallacy. Instead, I want to argue that the digital and physical are increasingly meshed. Nathan Jurgenson, Digital Dualism versus Augmented Reality, 2011 http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/20 11/02/24/digital-dualism-versusaugmented-reality/
  20. 20. What will the future be like? • As physical and digital realities are seamlessly integrated, cyberspace is not a place that people go; it’s a new layer in their reality. (IFTF 2009) • Dynamic physical environments tailored to meet individual and community health and well-being needs. • New tools to quantify the effects of social norms, platforms to broadcast this information • Environments designed for ambient health and well-being. • Higher empathy, connectedness and productivity http://www.iftf.org/our-work/globallandscape/ten-year-forecast/2009-tenyear-forecast/#sthash.aN6G3qn9.dpuf
  21. 21. The Blue Gym “A growing body of evidence suggests that time spent in or near natural water environments, such as the coast, rivers, lakes and inland waterways, can promote health and wellbeing.” European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter
  22. 22. Biophilic Workplaces 1 Workplace Perks Google London http://mashable.com/2011/10/17/googlefacebook-twitter-linkedin-perksinfographic/
  23. 23. Biophilic Workplaces 2 New Apple HQ New Twitter HQ
  24. 24. There is this longing..... Leisure and Health
  25. 25. The High Line, NYC Image by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, courtesy of the City of New York
  26. 26. Moscow gets a breath of fresh air http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/ nov/13/moscow-new-park-hotel-rossiya
  27. 27. Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed new bridge over The Thames http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/travel/ 4162/a-garden-bridge-across-thethames.html
  28. 28. Escale Numérique (Digital Break)
  29. 29. Wifi outdoors
  30. 30. Bringing parks indoors - Arts in Hospital, Dorset County Hospital
  31. 31. Video Games & Virtual Worlds e.g. Flower/Second Life/Walden/Skylander
  32. 32. New Nesta £1m fund • • • • • Many of the UK's public parks face an uncertain future with a reduction of up to 60 per cent in public subsidy looming, putting their management and maintenance at risk. While public subsidy will remain a big part of the picture, new approaches to managing parks are needed. There are already examples of successful parks business models in the UK and internationally. These include new models of management, funding and organisation, often involving community, social and private enterprises. But more must be done. The most promising areas worthy of further exploration for ensuring public parks continue to thrive are: changes in park management and maintenance, new organisational structures, more diverse funding sources, and identifying new uses for parks.
  33. 33. COST Action Fostering knowledge about the relationship between Information and Communication Technologies and Public Spaces supported by strategies to improve their use and attractiveness Carlos Smaniotto Costa
  34. 34. Main objective is to create a research platform on the relationship between information and communication technologies (ICT) and the production and use of public open spaces, and their relevance to sustainable urban development. The impacts of this relationship will be explored from social, ecological and urban design perspectives expertise tools knowledge
  35. 35. Participants' expertises & Networking 4 Landscape design and planning 5 Urban sociology, behaviour research and public health 4 Educational psychology/minority research 5 Communication 5 Creative and cultural industries 2 ICT developers 4 Urban gaming and participatory mobile artworks 18 partners / 13 counties Urban management and development 4 Possible new partners … Unseen Pro Ltd (winner of grant "Technostart" by the Ministry of Economy) SMARTSY - a start-up company on ICT development Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias Department of Urban Planning Lisbon - Portugal BG FR Alcatel-Lucent (Bell Labs Research)-network providers National Digital Research Centre, a consortium of commercialization projects, including app developers IRL Promotion of local tourism Past View - App developers for urban gaming … BE/PL ES
  36. 36. Goals Coordinate and enhance research efforts in how to deal with opportunities and/or risks of ICT usage in public spaces, and the meaning for design practice, Enhance and test research methodologies into a new context, considering the social function of public spaces, Establish links and promote collaboration among experts and expertise areas, e.g. ICT, creative industry, design practice, health consultancy. Form self sustained empirical knowledge on use of ICT by place users, and via experimental research gaining empirical knowledge and synthesising the impacts of ICT on public spaces into a set of guidelines for city planners, urban developers, urban policies, regulatory and decision-making bodies. Synchronise academic and industrial research that may result from the intersection of ICT and public space and their relevant users, (and therefore promote existing and establish new links with industrial partners in new commercial applications).
  37. 37. Working Groups Digital methods Networking & dissemination Creating CyberPark Urban ethnography Conceptual reflection
  38. 38. A day off in the cyberpark? Technobiophilic Design will connect technology to the natural world to help people feel and perform better
  39. 39. Thank you Sue Thomas www.suethomas.net @suethomas #technobiophilia

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