URBAN DESIGN International

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 131–144 | Cite as

Reflections towards an agenda for urban-designing the digital city

  • Alessandro Aurigi
Original Article


This article deals with the increasingly digital augmentation of urban space and looks at how so far initiatives in this sense have been deployed in a way that is disconnected from urban design knowledge and practice. The aim here is to contribute to a reflection on how urban design perspectives can – and should – play an important role in informing such developments. It promotes, through a series of observations on tensions between digital and physical dimensions of space, the need to design ‘augmented’ space as a whole, mobilising the ‘digital’ to positively reinforcing place. This, the article argues, can be achieved through attention to a series of principles, which can be part of an urban design agenda for digitally enhanced places.


ICT digital city urban spaces place 


  1. Aurigi, A. and De Cindio, F. (eds.) (2008) Augmented Urban Spaces: Articulating the Physical and Electronic City. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  2. Benedikt, M. (ed.) (1991) Cyberspace: First Steps. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bielefeld, B. and El Khouli, S. (2007) Design Ideas. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhauser.Google Scholar
  4. Bijker, W. and Law, J. (1994) Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Sociotechnical Change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bolter, J.D. and Grusin, R. (1999) Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Borden, I. (2001) Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  7. Bullivant, L. (2006) Responsive Environments. London: V&A.Google Scholar
  8. Cairncross, F. (1997) The Death of Distance: How the Communication Revolution will Change Our Lives. Harvard: Harvard Business Press.Google Scholar
  9. Carmona, M., Heath, T., Oc, T. and Tiesdell, S. (2003) Public Places – Urban Spaces: The Dimensions of URBAN DESIGN. Oxford: Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  10. Dalsgaard, P. and Halskov, K. (2010) Designing urban media façades – Cases and challenges. In: E. Mynatt, G. Fitzpatrick, S. Hudson, K. Edwards and T. Rodden (eds.), Proceedings of CHI 2010, Atlanta, USA, New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  11. Duarte, F. and Firmino, R. (2009) Infiltrated city, augmented space: Information and communication technologies, and representations of contemporary spatialities. The Journal of Architecture 14 (5): 545–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. English Heritage and CABE. (2009) Large Digital Screens in Public Spaces: Joint Guidance from English Heritage and CABE, London,, accessed 15 December 2011.
  13. Engwicht, D. (1999) Street Reclaiming, Creating Liveable Streets and Vibrant Communities. British Columbia: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Fatah gen. Schieck, A. (2009) Towards an integrated architectural media space: The urban screen as a socialising platform. In: S. McQuire, M. Martin and S. Niederer (eds.) Urban Screens Reader. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Institute of Network Cultures.Google Scholar
  15. Fatah gen. Schieck, A. et al (2006) Design tools for pervasive computing in urban environment. In: J. van Leeuwen and H. Timmermans (eds.) Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Design & Decision Support Systems in Architecture and Urban Planning, Eindhoven, NL: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. Fatah gen. Schieck, A., Schnüdelbach, H. and Penn, A. (2012) Research in the wild: Exploring the potential of networked urban screens for communities and culture. Research in the Wild Workshop, DIS 2012, Newcastle, UK.Google Scholar
  17. Graham, S. and Marvin, S. (1996) Telecommunications and the City: Electronic Spaces, Urban Places. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guthrie, K. and Dutton, W. (1992) The politics of citizen access technology: The development of public information utilities in four cities. Policy Studies Journal 20 (4): 574–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Latour, B. (2005) Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Law, J. and Hassard, J. (1999) Actor Network Theory and After. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  21. Lawson, B. (2001) The Language of Space. Oxford: Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  22. Manovich, L. (2003) The poetics of augmented space. In: A. Everett and J. Caldwell (eds.) New Media: Theories and Practices of Digitextuality. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Mitchell, W. (1995) City of Bits: Space, Place and the Infobahn. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Mitchell, W. (1999) E-topia: ‘Urban Life, Jim – But Not As We Know It’. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  25. Norberg-Schulz, C. (1971) Existence, Space and Architecture. London: Studio Vista.Google Scholar
  26. Novak, M. (1991) Liquid architecture in cyberspace. In: M. Benedikt (ed.) Cyberspace: First Steps. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  27. Novak, M. (1998) Trans-architecture Presentation. Getty Museum Symposium on Trans-architecture: Visions of Digital Communities, Brentwood, CA, 5 June.Google Scholar
  28. Odendaal, N. (2008) (D)urban space as the site of collective actions: Towards a conceptual framework for understanding the digital city in Africa. In: A. Aurigi and F. De Cindio (eds.) Augmented Urban Spaces: Articulating the Physical and Electronic City. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  29. Ojala, T. et al (2010) UBI-hotspot 1.0: Large-scale long-term deployment of interactive public displays in a city center. In: G. Bellot Ortiz, H. Sasaki, M. Ehmann and C. Dini (eds.) Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Internet and Web, Applications and Services, ICIW 2010, Barcelona, Spain. Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE, CPS.Google Scholar
  30. Oldenburg, R. (1999) The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and the Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community, 2nd edn. New York: Marlowe and Company.Google Scholar
  31. Rheingold, H. (1994) The Virtual Community. London: Secker & Warburg.Google Scholar
  32. Sassen, S. (2009) Reading the city in a global digital age. In: S. McQuire, M. Martin and S. Niederer (eds.) Urban Screens Reader. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Institute of Network Cultures.Google Scholar
  33. Schumacher, P. and Hadid, Z. (eds.) (2011) Total Fluidity: Studio Zaha Hadid, Projects 2000–2010 University of Applied Arts Vienna. Wien: Springer.Google Scholar
  34. Shepard, M. (ed.) (2011) Toward the sentient city. In: Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture and the Future of Urban Space. New York: Architectural League and MIT Press.Google Scholar
  35. Smith, P. (1977) The Syntax of Cities. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  36. Studio Real. (2007) Urban design compendium 2: Delivering quality places. English Partnerships and Homes and Communities Agency,, accessed 15 July 2012.
  37. Tuan, Y.F. (1977) Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  38. Turnbull, D. (2002) GMCity: The genetically modified city. In: N. Leach (ed.) Designing for a Digital World. Chichester, UK: Wiley.Google Scholar
  39. Unwin, S. (2009) Analysing Architecture, 3rd edn. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Van den Besselaar, P., De Michelis, G., Preece, J. and Simone, C. (eds.) (2005) Communities and Technologies 2005. Proceedings of the Second Communities and Technologies Conference, Milano, Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  41. Van Schaik, L. (2008) Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture. Chichester, UK: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  42. Vande Moere, A. and Wouters, N. (2012) The role of context in media architecture. In: R. Jose and E. Huang (eds.) PerDis 2012 The International Symposium on Pervasive Displays (ISPD), Porto. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  43. Willis, K. (2008) Places, situations and connections. In: A. Aurigi and F. De Cindio (eds.) Augmented Urban Spaces: Articulating the Physical and Electronic City. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  44. Wilson, E. (1997) Looking backward: Nostalgia and the city. In: S. Westwood and J. Williams (eds.) Imagining Cities: Scripts, Signs, Memories. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Aurigi
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Architecture, Design and Environment, Plymouth UniversityPlymouthUK

Personalised recommendations