Living for the Global City: Mobile Kits, Urban Interfaces, and Ubicomp

  • Scott D. Mainwaring
  • Ken Anderson
  • Michele F. Chang
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3660)


Using ethnographic methods, 28 young professionals across the global cities of London, Los Angeles, and Tokyo were studied to understand in some detail what items they carried with them (their mobile kits) and how they used these items to access people, places, and services (through various urban interfaces). The findings are analyzed in terms of these cities as existing sites of ubiquitous information and communication technology (ICT) use. More specifically, findings are considered with respect to the prospects in these cities for ubicomp as a paradigm of trusted, environmentally embedded computing, as opposed to a wearable computing paradigm of individual self-sufficiency. Overall, at least for the young professional class studied, practices of urban interfacing were remarkably similar across all three cities studied, suggesting that ubicomp systems might be developed to address the range of urban concerns and to unburden and empower urbanites.


Mobile Phone Ubiquitous Computing World City Global City Wearable Computing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Beaverstock, J.V., Smith, R.G., Taylor, P.J.: A roster of world cities. Cities 16, 445–458 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brown, B., Green, N., Harper, R.: Wireless world: Social and interactional aspects of the mobile age. Springer, Heidelberg (2002)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bull, M.: The world according to sound: Investigating the world of Walkman users. New Media and Society 3, 179–197 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bull, M.: The seduction of sound in consumer culture: Investigating Walkman desires. Journal of Consumer Culture 2, 81–101 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cooper, L., Johnson, G., Baber, C.: A run on Sterling – Personal finance on the move. In: Proc. ISWC 1999, pp. 87–92 (1999)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dix, M.: The Central London Congestion Charging Scheme–From conception to implementation. Paper presented at the IMPRINT-EUROPE Thematic Network Seminar, Brussels (2002)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
  8. 8.
    Hall, P.: Christaller for a global age: Redrawing the urban hierarchy. In: Mayr, A., Meurer, M., Vogt, J. (eds.) Stadt und Region: Dynamik von Lebenswelten, pp. 110–128. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geographie, Leipzig (2002), Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Haynes, M., Rogers, J. (eds.): Smoke: A London peculiar (2004),
  10. 10.
    Hughes, J., King, V., Rodden, T., Andersen, H.: Moving out from the control room: Ethnography in system design. In: Proceedings of CSCW 1994, pp. 429–439 (1994)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ito, M., Okabe, D.: Mobile phones, Japanese youth, and the re-placement of social contact. Presented at Front Stage - Back Stage Confrence, Grimstad, Norway (2003),
  12. 12.
    Ito, M., Okabe, D., Matsuda, M. (eds.): Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life. MIT Press, Cambridge (2005)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jain, S.S.L.: Urban errands: The means of mobility. Journal of Consumer Culture 2, 419–438 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Luff, P., Heath, C.: Mobility in collaboration. In: Proceedings of CSCW 1998, pp. 305–314 (1998)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mainwaring, S.D., Anderson, K., Chang, M.F.: What’s in your wallet? Implications for global e-wallet design. Extended Abstracts of CHI 2005, 1613–1616 (2005)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Mainwaring, S.D., Chang, M.F., Anderson, K.: Infrastructures and their discontents: Implications for ubicomp. In: Davies, N., Mynatt, E.D., Siio, I. (eds.) UbiComp 2004. LNCS, vol. 3205, pp. 418–432. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Marcus, G.: Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology 24, 95–117 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Mateas, M., Salvador, T., Scholtz, J., Sorensen, D.: Engineering ethnography in the home. In: CHI 1996 Conference Companion, pp. 283–284 (1996)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Millen, D.R.: Rapid ethnography: Time deepening strategies for HCI field research. In: Proceedings of DIS, pp.280-286 (2000)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Monahan, T.: Los Angeles studies: The emergence of a specialty field. City & Society 14(2), 155–184 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Nippert-Eng, C.: Home and Work: Negotiating Boundaries through Everyday Life. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1996)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Okabe, D., Anderson, K., Mainwaring, S.D., Ito, M.: Location-based moblogging as method: New views into the use and practices of personal, social and mobile technologies. Paper presented at Hungarian Academy of Science conference: Seeing, Understanding, Learning in the Mobile Age, Budapest (2005)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Oldenburg, R.: The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. Paragon House, New York (1989)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Paulos, E., Anderson, K., Townsend, A.: UbiComp in the urban frontier. In: Davies, N., Mynatt, E.D., Siio, I. (eds.) UbiComp 2004. LNCS, vol. 3205, Springer, Heidelberg (2004), Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Paulos, E., Goodman, E.: The familiar stranger: Anxiety, comfort, and play in public places. In: Proceedings of CHI, pp. 223–230 (2004)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Perry, M., O’Hara, K., Sellen, A., Brown, B., Harper, R.: Dealing with mobility: Understanding access anytime, anywhere. ACM TOCHI 8, 323–347 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
  28. 28.
    Reed, A.: ’My Blog Is Me’: Texts and persons in UK online journal culture (and anthropology). Ethnos (in press)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Rheingold, H, Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Perseus (2002)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Sassen, S.: The global city: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton University Press, Princeton (1991)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Sherry, J., Salvador, T.: Running and grimacing: The struggle for balance in mobile work. In: Brown, B., Green, N., Harper, R. (eds.) Wireless world: Social and interactional aspects of the Mobile Age, pp. 108–120. Springer, London (2002)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Skok, W.: Knowledge management: London taxi cabs case study. In: Proceedings of SIGCPR 1999, pp. 94–101 (1999)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Strickland, R.: Portable effects: A survey of nomadic design practice. Tech Report TR1998-003, Interval Research Corp. (1998),
  34. 34.
    Tamminen, S., Oulasvirta, A., Toiskallio, K., Kankainen, A.: Understanding mobile contexts. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 8, 135–143 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott D. Mainwaring
    • 1
  • Ken Anderson
    • 1
  • Michele F. Chang
    • 1
  1. 1.People and Practices Research LabIntel CorporationHillsboroUSA

Personalised recommendations