Reading assignment for Cloudcommuting

By reading Me++ I have thought about our intelligent urban system

Me++ The cyborg Self And The Networked City by Willian J Michell:

The author William states that “in the last couple of decades the convergence of increasingly capable wireless technology with expanding network infrastructure , miniaturised electronics and proliferating digital information had radically refashioned the relationships of individuals to their constructed environments and one to another.

Today, we have used GPS system with searching function which changed our city experience dramatically that we can find where we want to go without asking people around anymore. That is probably one of the biggest change in that we have lost interaction and social opportunities. Instead, we socialise in virtual space. I do not think this is a great thing, to be honest as it isolates urban dwellers.

The navigation system changed how I use my city. It becomes more going to targeting places. The smart system actually helps to optimise time and cost to reach to the targets and purposes. This makes me quite strange to me who has architectural background that designing highly functional system has been criticised and some have develop how they can create a complex city. Yet, the system actually suggests where we do not visit usually so experience of the city directed by information in virtual space based. Today, we look at someone’s review and online menu when we choose a restaurant etc. It can be optimisation again and the feedback system has killed things we do not mention on website I agree with the author’s opinion.

The author states that “increasingly, my sense of continuity and belonging derives from being electronically networked to the widely scattered people and places I care about”. Since we have gained virtual social communities and space, our “communities” are completely separated from our physical spaces. This is one of my interests in architectural history and theory that how we feel sense of identity and security which deeply associate with memorability of the city. My opinion is virtual social community make it weaken, though that we loose use of other senses, olfactory, hearing, taste, and sense of touch are very important to reconstruct our memories. This means that electronically networked spaces cannot create our sense of strong security and identity. We still need greater physical experiences.

The points in the prologue

  1. mobile devices, the global wireless systems are liberating extension of my mobile bodies
  2. The two parts of Marconi’s system had evolved in opposite directions: the network has scaled up and single wireless link had exploded into a dense, global web of wireless infrastructure + the transmission and reception apparatus had dramatically scaled down
  3. The inexpensive, ubiquitous wireless connections were linking whole new classes of things into networks, nothing need be left unlinked
  4. code makes it possible to specify the relationships between physical causes and effects in terms of symbolically expressed mathematical functions, rather than by constructing specialised mechanical linkages or hydraulic systems hardwired electrical circuit, and the like.
  5. technology that so precisely guides my automobile to a specific location can also guide a missile or a smart bomb.

The points in the Chapter I:

  1. sometimes-defended boundary was once the decisive mechanism of political geography(it later become subway map, road map, and now internet connectivity most vivid icon of globalisation)
  2.  Our economy and national security are fully dependent upon information technology and the infrastructure
  3. Connectivity had become the defining characteristic of our twenty-first-century urban condition
  4. all networks have their particular paces and rhythms
  5. measurable and accountable money time is money
  6. both human and machine work and precisely construct the accelerating tempos and rhythms of the digital era
  7. Different places may simply run on their own clocks or their timekeeping system may be standardised and synchronised.
  8. Computers have added additional layers of complexity to the construction of time.

I love this book, by the way.

The books, though, has a lack of background data and reference to convince the statement it looks like fiction. As a story, it’s interesting and I agree with opinion in general yet it would be great if I can gain more information about the background research.


Reinventing the Automobile : Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century, Mitchell, William J., Borroni-Bird, Christopher E., and Burns, Lawrence D..

  1. For over half a century, learning to drive an automobile has been seen as a rite of passage.
  2. In the last few years, another consumer product has achieved the same status: the mobile phone
  3. Vehicles will become network nodes on wheels; they will acquire, process, utilize, and communicate information that supports their individual functions and those of the mobility system as a whole; and they will be routed effi ciently from place to place much like packets of data in the Internet.
  4. There are two distinct but interrelated aspects to the Mobility Internet: networked computing and control for vehicles and social networking for their occupants

the problems for smart automobile systems are:

  1. The first and most obvious challenge is to provide suffi ciently fast, reliable, two-way connectivity to large numbers of geographically dispersed, moving automobiles.
  2. The second major challenge is that of scalability.
  3. The third challenge is that of massively distributed computation and control.
  4. Finally, there is the challenge of accomplishing all this while preserving locational privacy.

Chapter III

  1. The problem of maintaining optimal separation and speed is diffi cult to solve when it is left primarily to human drivers, since humans have limited information-processing capacity, are easily distracted, and react in psychologically complex and sometimes irrational ways.
  2. Future vehicles will approach what nature accomplishes, and in analogous ways, through use of greater sensing power, increased communications and processing bandwidth, and more precise actuation
  3. Where dedicated lanes or zones are used, smart vehicles could electronically identify and authenticate themselves prior to accessing them.
  4. If sensors and communications capability can be incorporated at key points alongside the road, such as at intersections or at troublesome geographic spots where ice is likely to form easily, then many accidents can be eliminated.
  5. enable many valuable location-based services.
  6. control can also support new, potentially fairer approaches to automobile insurance
  7. Connectivity and intelligence can not only enhance the vehicle’s awareness of the external environment, help to optimize traffi c flow, and reduce trip times, but also improve driver and passenger interaction with the vehicle through electronic customization.
  8. In the future, through the use of autonomous driving technology (as discussed in chapter 2), automobile users will be able to choose between driving and riding.
  9. Another benefit of autonomous driving, then, is safe extension of personal mobility to these drivers.
  10. It enables conversation and social interaction within its walls, but isolates the enclosed traveling group from others.
  11. light electric automobiles connected to the Mobility Internet will— much like today’s smart phones— serve as platforms for all manner of “apps” provided by innovative third-party developers.

Chapter VIII

  1. The overall result is a self-organizing personal urban mobility system that responds to varied needs while effectively minimizing demands on energy supply systems, urban space, vehicle fleets, and driver time.
  2. Within electronically managed, dynamically priced personal urban mobility systems, smart, connected, location-aware vehicles serve as interfaces to the city, much as the combination of a browser and a search engine serves as an interface to the World Wide Web.
  3. This implies a gradual transfer of information display from the external urban environment to automobile dashboards.
  4. Speed limit information is better displayed on speedometers than on static road signs so that it can be tailored to the vision capabilities and preferences of the driver and where it can be compared directly to current vehicle speed.

Chapter IX

  1. Reinventing the automobile now opens up the opportunity for cities to evolve in desirable new directions.
  2. where stability and agility are primary concerns, legs will have an advantage, but where mechanical effi ciency and speed are more important, and there is a large investment in flat surfaces, wheels will begin to dominate.
  3. In general, where stability and agility are primary concerns, legs will have an advantage, but where mechanical effi ciency and speed are more important, and there is a large investment in flat surfaces, wheels will begin to dominate.
  4. the provision of parking space has emerged as a crucial urban design issue.
  5. the need for automobile carriageway and parking space has encouraged the widespread paving of urban land, reducing opportunities for greenery and natural drainage and exacerbating urban heat island effects.
  6. we will see the increasing emergence of cities that provide high levels of personal mobility but are safer, quieter, cleaner, more livable, more energy efficient, and more sustainable than those of today.

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