Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Major Reference Work in Mobilities Design



Ole B. Jensen, Professor of Urban Theory at Aalborg University, Denmark, is well-known in the field of mobilities for his pioneering work. In his previous published work Staging Mobilities (Routledge, 2013) Jensen explored how the movement of people, goods, information, etc, were acted out and performed amidst the intricacy of their relationships. This work examined the theoretical nuances and implications of mobility concepts. In his new work Designing Mobilities (Aalborg University Press, 2014) Ole B. Jensen delves deep into the physicality of mobile sites and locations to offer a broad and far-ranging investigation that compliments his previous work. Jensen clearly has situated himself as taking his theoretical explorations forward in order to articulate the meaning of material and physical contexts. Designing Mobilities does just this by engaging with tangible designs structures and sites – such as transit spaces and systems and shopping centres – and their relations not only to mobility and space in the built environment but also culture. That is, Jensen sets as his goal the exploration of how such ‘designed’ mobilities integrate, impact, and influence upon human identity and social life. Jensen views mobility as culture, experience, performance, design, and more. To achieve his goals Jensen organizes the book by first framing the issues into designing, capturing, and the materiality of mobilities. Jensen then takes four case studies in detail to explore his issues: walking flows; cycling assemblages; train metroscapes; and car motorway assemblages. In none of these areas does Jensen’s analysis lack critical insight or perceptive articulation. Also, the book itself is visually stunning and is an aesthetic object in its own right.


Designing Mobilities, based on more than a decade of academic research, is a successful and pioneering contribution to the research field of mobilities. Jensen’s latest work will also stand for years to come as a major reference in the research area that Jensen calls ‘mobilities design.’ It is a complex engagement that addresses key issues in a diversity of research areas. As such the book will appeal to students and scholars with an interest in urban studies, urban design, architecture, urban planning, transport planning and geography, urban geography, anthropology, design studies, interaction design, and urban sociology.

Reviewer: Kingsley L. Dennis, Ph.D

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Designing Mobilities (Art and Urbanism) 

Ole B. Jensen



How is the width of the pavement shaping the urban experience? How is the material design of transport infrastructure and mobile technology affording social interaction in everyday life spaces? How are people inhabiting these spaces with their bodies and in accordance to social and cultural norms? These are some of the questions that this book raises in order to explore how the design of mobile sites and situations affect people's everyday life. The book takes point of departure in the author's book 'Staging Mobilities' (Routledge, 2013) in which it is argued that mobility is much more than simple movements of people, goods, and information 'from A to B'. Accordingly, the way people, goods, and information moves shapes the way we understand our built environment, other consociates, and ourselves. The book contributes with a new and critical-creative gaze on what might seem to be trivial and mundane acts of moving in the city. 'Designing Mobilities' is based on more than a decade of academic research by Professor of Urban Theory, Ole B. Jensen and a must-read for students and scholars with an interest in urban studies, urban design, architecture, urban planning, transport planning and geography, urban geography, anthropology, design studies, interaction design, and urban sociology.

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A recent recording of John Urry and Anthony Elliott discussing Mobilities and society beyond oil which is now live on the Hawke Research Institute. Watch here on Youtube:




Monday, March 04, 2013

Staging Mobilities

New Book Out by C-MUS Professor Ole B. Jensen: Staging Mobilities, Routledge 
 
In recent years, the social sciences have taken a ‘mobilities turn’. There has been a developing realisation that mobilities do not ‘just happen’. Mobilities are carefully and meticulously designed, planned and staged (from above). However, they are equally importantly acted out, performed and lived as people are ‘staging themselves’ (from below). Staging mobilities is a dynamic process between ‘being staged’ (for example, being stopped at traffic lights) and the ‘mobile staging’ of interacting individuals (negotiating a passage on the pavement). Staging Mobilities is about the fact that mobility is more than movement between point A and B. It explores how the movement of people, goods, information, and signs influences human understandings of self, other and the built environment. Moving towards a new understanding of the relationship between movement, interaction and environments, the book asks: what are the physical, social, technical, and cultural conditions to the staging of contemporary urban mobilities? Jensen argues that we need to understand the contemporary city as an assemblage of circulating people, goods, information and signs in relational networks creating the ‘meaning of movement’. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, urban studies, mobility studies, architecture and cultural studies.
 
More details on Staging Mobilities can be found here: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415693738/

Monday, April 02, 2012

Oxford University to introduce driverless car

Scientists from Oxford University have announced plans to introduce the first driverless car on Britain’s roads:

The vehicle, a modified BAE Wildcat military jeep, will be programmed with a three-dimensional map of routes around Oxford and nearby Woodstock.

Scientists intend to ask the government to approve the vehicle for use on open roads within the next two months. The robotic car uses a series of sensors, including cameras and lasers, to calculate its exact location. It can sense the presence of other vehicles on the road and take avoiding action if necessary, something that driverless cars equipped with GPS-based technology have been unable to do.

 Read full post here

 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mobilities: New Perspectives on Transport and Society

A new exciting book just published in the mobilities field: 'Mobilities: New Perspectives on Transport and Society

Mobilities: New Perspectives on Transport and Society 
  • Imprint: Ashgate
  • Illustrations: Includes 4 colour and 30 b&w illustrations
  • Published: January 2012
  • Format: 234 x 156 mm
  • Extent: 386 pages
  • Binding: Hardback
  • ISBN: 978-1-4094-1150-5
  • Price : £65.00 » Website price: £58.50
  • Edited by Margaret Grieco, Edinburgh Napier University, UK and John Urry, Lancaster University, UK
see
http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calcTitle=1&title_id=10038&edition_id=13471

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pentagon to use Facebook, Twitter as a resource and weapon

This is no great surprise after the recent comments on the social media's role in civil unrest - yet it's been on the agenda for quite a while, just surfacing now that public opinion is more open to the possibility:


The Pentagon is developing plans to use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as both a resource and a weapon in future conflicts. Its research and development agency is offering 42 million dollars in funding to anyone who can help, the New York Times reports.

According to the NYT article, social media will change the nature of warfare just as surely as the telegraph, the radio and the telephone did, and the Pentagon does not want to be caught falling short on this score.

Some of its goals were laid out in a document being circulated among potential researchers and is to be presented at a briefing on Tuesday in Arlington, Virginia, at the offices of the military contractor System Planning Corporation. As social media play increasingly large roles in fomenting unrest in countries like Egypt and Iran, the U.S. military wants systems to be able to detect and track the spread of ideas both quickly and on a broad scale.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is soliciting innovative proposals to help build what would be, at its most basic level, an Internet meme tracker. It would be useful to know, for instance, whether signs of widespread rebellion were authentic or whether they were being created by a fringe group with little real support. Among the tools the successful seeker of government funding might choose to employ: linguistic cues, patterns of information flow, topic trend analysis, sentiment detection and opinion mining.

Social networks can allow the military not only to follow but also to shape the action.



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Monday, July 11, 2011

Will electric cars ever take over our roads?

The debate continues whilst the technology gets better.....and now the Mini is giving it a good shot:


Leo Hickman test drives the Mini E.
Leo Hickman test drives the Mini E. Photograph: Martin Godwin
 
On 6 July last year, the US Patents and Trademark Office in Virginia received an application from General Motors to trademark the term "range anxiety". With just a few months to go before GM was set to launch its much-anticipated Chevy Volt – a plug-in hybrid, which would go on to earn the title of "most fuel-efficient compact car in the US" – the company's marketing team was on the offensive. It knew that prospective buyers would need to be convinced early on that the Volt would not have a limited range, as has proved the case with standard electric cars. "It's something we call 'range anxiety' – and it's real," explained Joel Ewanick, GM's head of marketing, when quizzed about the trademark application by car gossip website Jalopnik.com. "We're going to position this as a car first and electric second . . . People do not want to be stranded on the way home from work."

"Range anxiety" is very much on my own mind as I traverse the M40 between London and Oxford at 70mph in a prototype all-electric Mini E lent to me for the morning by BMW, the company currently conducting the world's most comprehensive trial aimed at gathering data on what it will take to convince people to ditch the internal combustion engine and go electric. (Yes, the same BMW that sells around 1.5m internal combustion engines globally each year.) As I look down at the gauge showing me that the car has less than 50% charge left, I have to keep reminding myself that the engineer who showed me round the car at Mini's Mayfair showroom said the car's 100-mile range at full charge would "easily" get me the 55 miles to BMW's Cowley plant just outside Oxford – with or without the air-con on full blast.



Read more here - 'Will electric cars ever take over our roads?'

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Monday, May 16, 2011

GameSave - gaming emergency relief

I just discovered this very surprising initiative: GameSave, launched by a group called "Geeks Without Bounds", a "not-for-profit alliance of hackers, coders and geeks united by the common goal of assisting communities in distress."

From the website:

"GameSave is a hack-a-thon style event which takes place over the course of 5 weeks, during which multiple teams of game developers and emergency relief professionals will each create a complete game concept and working demo aimed at an aspect of disaster relief." They're basically taking something a lot of people do (gaming) and turning it into a tool to help mitigate disasters.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Climate Change and Society


John Urry
Climate Change & Society

“A tour de force! Urry shows the centrality of the social – both to comprehend the meaning of the carbon catastrophe that besets us and, thereby, to discover the possibility of a post-carbon society. Essential reading for all.”
Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley


This book explores the significance of human behavior to understanding the causes and impacts of changing climates and to assessing varied ways of responding to such changes. So far the discipline that has represented and modeled such human behavior is economics.

By contrast Climate Change and Society tries to place the “social” at the heart of both the analysis of climates and of the assessment of alternative futures. Urry thus attempts to replace economics with sociology as the dominant discipline in climate change analysis. Sociology has spent much time examining the nature of modern societies, of modernity, but mostly failed to analyze the carbon resource base of such societies. This book seeks to remedy that failing. It should appeal to teachers and students in sociology, economics, environmental studies, geography, planning, politics and science studies, as well as to the public concerned with the long term future of carbon and society.

The Author

John Urry is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University.

Publication Details

        Publishing 13 May, 2011 • 216 pages
978-0-7456-5036-4 Hardback £55.00                                       978-0-7456-5037-1 Paperback £15.99
For More Information/ Interviews/ Review Copy Requests
Contact Amandine Decam, Polity Marketing Tel: 07825 678552 Email: amandine.decam@politybooks.com

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

'Blackberry thumb’ is new health hazard

The UK's Telegraph has a post on how the widespread use of hand-held devices at work has spawned a new condition - the  ''BlackBerry thumb'!

Tennis elbow, writer’s block and even athlete’s foot are problems than can cause considerable discomfort and more than a little embarrassment...

..."BlackBerry thumb" is the name given to a repetitive strain injury caused by overusing mobile phones to send emails and texts. The condition is so common that one law firm believes employers can expect a series of lawsuits from staff claiming compensation. Karen Jackson, a co-founder of the solicitors Roberts Jackson, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, said: “If no one knows about the risks involved, they won’t sue, but more and more people are becoming aware of health hazards in the workplace. 

'''BlackBerry thumb’ is the overuse of a mobile phone for work purposes and we envisage potential work in this area as more people are using their handsets when they’re on the move, which is leading to repetitive strain injury.


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Monday, April 04, 2011

Motorway lights to be turned off to cut carbon

Well... is this a move to seriously 'cut carbon' or is it the beginning of the UK's austerity measures?? This post  from The Telegraph reports how lights on three stretches of motorway are to be permanently switched off to 'save cash, cut carbon emissions and reduce light pollution'.....mmm....


The initial “switch off” was one of the first policies to emerge from voters who were asked how to help the Coalition identify where spending cuts could be made.
Shortly after becoming Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, said all areas of spending were under review.
At the time it triggered fears that road safety could be put at risk, given what had happened when lights were turned off in some towns and villages.

In Wales Powys Council was forced to switch 1,400 street lights back on after public protests.
But such concerns proved to be unfounded, according to Derek Turner, Director for the Highways Agency as he unveiled plans involving 15.9 miles of motorway in north west England. “Evidence so far indicates that switching off the lights hasn’t had an impact on safety,” he said....





 Read more at - 'Motorway lights to be turned off to cut carbon'

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Friday, April 01, 2011

EU to ban cars from cities by 2050

The UK's Telegraph reports on the latest EU carbon-cutting masterplan - to ban cars from London and all other cities across Europe in an attempt to cut CO2 emissions by 60 per cent over the next 40 years....drastic...is it realizable?

The European Commission on Monday unveiled a "single European transport area" aimed at enforcing "a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers" by 2050. The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.
Top of the EU's list to cut climate change emissions is a target of "zero" for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU's future cities. Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto "alternative" means of transport. "That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres," he said. "Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour."

"If he wants to bring everywhere to a grinding halt and to plunge us into a new dark age, he is on the right track. We have to keep things moving. The man is off his rocker." Mr Kallas has denied that the EU plan to cut car use by half over the next 20 years, before a total ban in 2050, will limit personal mobility or reduce Europe's economic competitiveness.



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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home Internet May Get Even Faster in South Korea

The New York Times has a post on how South Korea, which already claims the world’s fastest Internet connections, now seeks to go even further....in speed:

By the end of 2012, South Korea intends to connect every home in the country to the Internet at one gigabit per second. That would be a tenfold increase from the already blazing national standard and more than 200 times as fast as the average household setup in the United States. 

A pilot gigabit project initiated by the government is under way, with 1,500 households in five South Korean cities wired. Each customer pays about 30,000 won a month, or less than $27.“South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do,” President Obama said in his State of the Union address last month. Last week, Mr. Obama unveiled an $18.7 billion broadband spending program. 

While Americans are clip-clopping along, trailing the Latvians and the Romanians in terms of Internet speed, the South Koreans are at a full gallop. Their average Internet connections are far faster than even No. 2 Hong Kong and No. 3 Japan, according to the Internet analyst Akamai Technologies.


Read more at - 'Home Internet May Get Even Faster in South Korea'

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Mind control puts you in charge of driverless cars

New Scientist has a post on the prospect of driverless cars using the power of the human mind:

In a step beyond the plans laid by DARPA and Google to create cars that drive themselves, engineers led by Raul Rojas at the Free University of Berlin in Germany have developed a largely autonomous car whose speed and direction can be overridden...by the driver's thoughts. Why do this, you may well ask? Well, imagine your autonomous taxi of the future (think of the Johnny Cabs in Total Recall) is taking you home the wrong way. You just think "right here" and the car will turn and plan a fresh route. Or you change your mind about where you're going mid-journey: again, that's no problem with a thought-mediated drive-by-wire override capability.And people with disabilities that prevent them driving regular cars could experience driving by controlling at least some of the car's functions, too..

...Presumably to ensure everyone knows this is a German innovation in the face of the massive Google/DARPA juggernaut, the smart, semi-autonomous Volkswagen Passat has been christened 'MadeInGermany'. One begins to understand why engineers are not in charge of branding. Anyway, using laser radars, microwave radars and stereo cameras, the car can perform 360-degree obstacle detection and sense a car in front from its fenders up to 200 metres away. In all respects it's a state-of-the-art autonomous car - fully capable of driving itself or interfacing with other interesting control systems like the iPad or iPhone.


Read more at - 'Mind control puts you in charge of driverless cars'

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Friday, March 25, 2011

The mobile phone app that 'spots cancer'

The  UK's Daily Mail has a post about a new  mobile phone app that spots cancer and which is more accurate than the techniques routinely used in hospitals:


The smartphone-based system is up to 100 per cent accurate at telling the difference between benign tumours and their malignant counterparts. It also takes just an hour to make the diagnosis, meaning patients don’t have to spend days or weeks anxiously waiting for test results...

...In future, the smartphone system could be adapted to spot brain, skin and ovarian cancers quickly and accurately.The tiny amount of tissue needed - one thousandth of a millilitre - would also spare patients the pain and risk of having repeatedly having pieces of their growth cut away for testing. And with the most expensive piece of equipment costing just £60 or so, the system would be cheap to run.




Read more at - 'The mobile phone app that 'spots cancer''

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rise in drivers using Twitter

The UK's Telegraph has a report on how increasing numbers of motorists are using Facebook and Twitter while driving with potentially ''catastrophic consequences'', according to police:


Devon and Cornwall Police said it was catching more and more people using mobile phones with internet capability while behind the wheel, creating a high danger of crashing.
It urged drivers to show greater care, saying that rules banning the use of mobile phones while driving had now been in place for a ''long, long time''.Inspector Richard Price, from the force's roads policing unit, said: ''With the new mobile phones, it is becoming more commonplace for people to use them to access social media than for texting while driving.''The availability of information is sometimes too tempting to drivers and often they will be picking up the phone and updating their (Facebook) site.
''It really is unacceptable.''
The force has launched Operation Vortex to clamp down on ''complacent and arrogant behaviour'' by drivers.
It said research by the RAC had shown one in five motorists in the south-west had admitted to checking social media alerts whilst driving, making this a particular focus of the campaign alongside speeding, drink-driving and failing to wear a seatbelt.




 Read more at - 'Rise in drivers using Twitter'

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Mobile phones could run for months between charges

The UK's Telegraph has a short post about how mobile phones could soon run for months rather than days between charges, after scientists discovered how to make them work more efficiently:


A team of electrical engineers at Illinois University in the US believe their method will enable mobiles and laptops to run for up to 100 times longer between charges.
It focuses on changing the way a device's digital memory works, as this consumes much of the charge.
At the moment mobile phone memories contain thin metal wires. Every time information is accessed, electricity is passed through them to retrieve the data. The electrical engineers thought that if the size of the components used to store and retrieve the information could be reduced, so could the amount of electricity.
They have discovered a way of using carbon nanotubes - tiny tubes 10,000 times thinner than a human hair - instead.
Feng Xiong, a graduate student on the team who was lead author on a paper, to be published in the journal Science, explained: "The energy consumption is essentially scaled with the volume of the memory bit.





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Monday, March 14, 2011

With this Skype I do wed: Couple get married by web video

Well, it looks like a new trend is starting.....marriage by Skype. This began through a groom being ill in hospital, yet it could grow. Saves on travel expenses!

It was meant to be a tradition wedding with the bride wearing white, the groom a tuxedo and 500 guests watching the ceremony. But instead of standing together to take their vows, Samuel Kim and Helen Oh were seven miles apart as she said 'I do'  on a computer screen. The couple married in Fullerton, southern California, on Skype video after he fell ill and landed in a hospital isolation ward.

Skype wedding: Bride Helen Oh stands alone at the altar as her husband-to-be Samuel Kim watches her from his isolation ward on the jumbo-sized screen
Skype wedding: Bride Helen Oh stands alone at the altar as her husband-to-be Samuel Kim watches her from his isolation ward on the jumbo-sized screen.

Guests watched on jumbo-sized screens as the Korean couple, both 27, stood alone - Oh at the Grace Ministries church and Kim in his room at the UCI Medical Center in Orange County. He told her: 'Helen, my wife, I'm very, very sorry for not being able to walk you down the aisle or stand at the altar, but today is just one day. 'We're going to live for a very long time. I promise to be a perfect husband from now on to make up for this.' Five cameramen captured the ceremony last Saturday on split screens while Kim watched on a laptop in his room which had been filled with flowers by nurses.


Read more at - 'With this Skype I do wed: Couple get married by web video'

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Chinese mega-city building huge security system

The UK's Telegraph has a post about the Chinese mega-city of Chongqing which plans to build a $2.6 billion (£1.6 billion) security system that will be one of the world's largest with 500,000 surveillance cameras:


The system would dwarf a network of 40,000 security cameras installed in the capital of China's far-western Xinjiang region last year, following deadly July 2009 clashes between Muslim Uighurs and members of the majority Han group.
Chongqing's more than 500,000 cameras, which are due to be installed by 2012, will mainly be used for crime prevention, emergency controls and rescue operations, a police spokesman told the Global Times.
The computerised cameras will be managed under one network, allowing authorities and emergency services in the province-sized area of more than 30 million people to share the video feeds, the paper said.
A crackdown on organised crime two years ago in the sprawling municipality led to numerous high-level prosecutions for corruption and mafia crime that have shocked the nation as it revealed Chongqing's underworld.




See original post - 'Chinese mega-city building huge security system'

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