Urban User Interface

The January 2011 Egyptian uprising in Tahrir Square was called a “Facebook revolution,” but its importance is not that it was solely digital, but rather that information and space were bound in an arena for social change. Some recent work analyzing the location of tweets within Cairo reveals a pattern that is directly tied to the location of mosques in tight alleyways during the insipient stages followed by surging crowds and tweets in Tahrir Square. Such technologically enabled social practices not only present challenges to policy officials concerned with the regulation and security of citizens in urban spaces, but are also giving rise to a plethora of new research opportunities for urban designers about the methods, effectiveness, and locations of their intervention.

Central to this discussion concerning the contemporary urban fabric is the rethinking of social life and urban places through highly integrated physical and virtual realms. As Robins and Hepworth urge, there is a need for a deeper understanding of the relation between technological developments and social and spatial processes (1988) to effectively plan for current and future urban environments. 

 

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