chapter  2
25 Pages

Discrete public space

WithSilvio Carta

This chapter analyses the application of the notions of discretisation and ubiquitous computing in space in general, and the urban environment in particular. It focuses on how the urban environment is being gradually reconfigured by machines and algorithms, following a digital logic. This section provides the theoretical premises to discuss the contrast between the analogue physical experience of space that characterises the human approach to public space and the digital approach imposed on it by computers. I discuss a number of fundamental notions and technologies to explain to what extent the nature of the built environment is changing and increasingly becoming a hybrid new entity where digital and physical qualities are fused together. This chapter illustrates how a new degree of complexity results in a new understanding of space and time, and in it, I discuss the mechanisms that underpin the ubiquitous presence of digital intelligent agents. I review and analyse all these new dynamics to explore the extent to which the digital logic percolates in all aspects of the urban life, and how people and software together become a new form of agency in the making of the new built environment. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the ideas of Non-lieux (Bauman 2000; Augé 2008) and generic spaces in light of this new notion of hybrid-built environment and under the lens of the pervasive discrete logic.