The focus of this book is on understanding and explaining the way that our increasingly networked world impacts on the legibility of cities; that is how we experience and inhabit urban space. It reflects on the nature of the spatial effects of the networked and mediated world; from mobile phones and satnavs to data centres and wifi nodes and discusses how these change the very nature of urban space. It proposes that netspaces are the spaces that emerge at the interchange between the built world and the space of the network. It aims to be a timely volume for both architectural, urban design and media practitioners in understanding and working with the fundamental changes in built space due to the ubiquity of networks and media. This book argues that there needs to be a much better understanding of how networks affect the way we inhabit urban space. The volume defines five characteristics of netspaces and defines in detail the way that the spatial form of the city is affected by changing practices of networked world. It draws on theoretical approaches and contextualises the discussion with empirical case studies to illustrate the changes taking place in urban space. This readable and engaging text will be a valuable resource for architects, urban designers, planners and sociologists for understanding how of networks and media are creating significant changes to urban space and the resulting implications for the design of cities.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Part I: Infrastructures, 1. Networked Infrastructures, 2. Meshworks and Assemblages, 3. Historical Context, 4. Making Sense of the City, 5. Case Study: The Cloud, Part II: Places, 1. Networked Places, 2. Digital Places, 3. Historical Context, 4. Digital Places, 5. Case Study: Location-based Social Networks, Part III: Boundaries, 1. Digital Thresholds, 2. Digital Boundaries, 3. Historical Context, 4. Thresholds, 5. Case Study: Public Wireless Networks, Part IV: Publics, 1. Networked Publics, 2. Performing Spaces, 3. Historical Context, 4. New Digital Publics, 5. Case Study: Urban Screens, Part V: Times, 1. Digital Rhythms, 2. Times and Rhythms, 3. Historical Context, 4. Digital Rhythms, 5. Case Study: ‘Real Time’ Cities, Part VI: Things, 1. Networked Things, 2. Digital and Material Worlds, 3. Historical Context, 4. Connected Objects, 5. People and Spaces, 6. Case Study: Smart Homes, Part VII: Future Challenges
Katharine Willis's research over the last decade has explored the effects and implications of digital networks on the experience and design of urban space and place. She has authored and edited over forty publications on these themes. Recent books include: Locative Media: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Media and Locality (co-edited, Transcript Press 2013); Shared Encounters (co-edited, Springer 2010) and Mediacity: situations, practices and encounters (co-edited, Frank and Timme 2009). Katharine Willis trained as an Architect with a Masters in Architecture from the Bartlett, University College London. She has a PHD from the Bauhaus University of Weimar, Germany where she was an EU Marie Curie Fellow in the MEDIACITY research project. Since 2011 she has been based in the School of Architecture, Design and Environment at University of Plymouth, UK, where she is Associate Professor (Reader) in digital environments.
In a fast changing world of digital media this is a far ranging and insightful work. Distilling the modish from the significant, it takes the reader on a journey through the interweaving of digital media and the fabric of everyday life. Far from the end of geography, it shows the emplacing and entangling of new media as part of the warp and weft of how places are now practised, and the role of places in shaping how new media are used.
Mike Crang, University of Durham, UK
Forget cyberspace as disentangled from real spaces. Willis's book shows (theoretical and empirically) that our contemporary societies are endowed with "Netspaces" - hybrid spaces of places and digital networks. The main contribution of the book is to open, critically and deeply, the digital black boxes, and to examine the invisibility of informational space. Willis claims that Netspaces are creating multiple in-between spaces, changing the way we inhabit our cities.
Andre Lemos, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil