Making the city my own: uses and practices of mobile location technologies for exploration of a new city

  • Louise BarkhuusEmail author
  • Donghee Yvette Wohn
Original Article


In this paper, we present an interview study of 13 recent newcomers to New York City, focusing on their early experiences of exploration and use of mobile location services and other tools for getting to know their new city. We describe their reasons and intentions behind exploratory practices using digital tools and emphasize how they make meaning out of new places in relation to technology tools as well as their previous places. Mobile location technologies make the process of finding specific places and exploring new neighborhoods a digital search task but discourage the notion of wandering and exploration. We point out missed opportunities for socio-technical systems supporting place making and place discovery and suggest that digital exploration tools should stay peripheral to the activities that people enjoy as tech-free but support a wider notion of search for salient characteristics of places.


Location-based services Mobile technologies Place technologies 



We thank the participants for their time. Also thanks to Mor Naaman and his research group at Cornell Tech for early insights and discussion around this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The IT University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewarkUSA

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