UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mobile technologies and public spaces Mani, Sanaz


Mobile technologies are the latest technologies in the realm of communication media. They have the potential to flatten the world by making it a place where gender, age, class, race and nationality can no longer hold us back from being heard and being informed. We have learned that these technologies can help to liberate and empower us, and they can lead to a collective cognition as much as they can distract us from what we need to know about the world we live in. In Greece thousands of years ago, a selected number of Greeks had a public space called the Agora to discuss the issues that concerned the public, meaning each and every citizen. They were the first to be able to create the space and place were the word “democracy” could be brought into language; the very word that was used to start a new war in the era of a communication revolution in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. There are still issues that concern the public today such as wars, global warming, homelessness or human rights which are all matters of our collective cognition. However, today in an age of information revolution the public life of people and their collective cognition is being exercised mostly in the virtual spaces of the Internet. Simultaneously, some physical spaces are being abandoned by people. This thesis investigates the possibility of having physical public spaces that are enriched with communication media and not weakened by it. If architects rethink their designs based on a new understanding of the networked society it might be possible to turn this “networked individualism” into a networked collectivism. However, most designed public spaces fail to offer new possibilities that can transform space for the new generation of users. Here, the aim is to understand a new generation of users. Who have they become as a result of new communication media? And how can architects design in a way that responds to this new subject in architecture?

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