“I was recently asked to comment on â€˜the street of the futureâ€™; a response for a quango responsible for the built environment and a government department responsible for transport, roads and so forth. Which means it’s really the street of the near-future. I didnâ€™t have enough time to write something short, so I dashed off the following, and Iâ€™m really posting here as a note to self, rather than an attempt to deeply discuss the everyday informational street circa 2008. Still, I hope you find it useful or engaging. The photos don’t relate directly but create a kind of composite illustrative city nonetheless.
Itâ€™s deliberately grounded in the here-and-now, more or less, so it will seem rather old hat to some of you. Which in a sense it is. And in another sense, it isn’t. But either way, this was a better strategy for the task-in-hand, and in imagining the scene below, via a kind of narrative, it’s still remarkable to even sketchily consider how much data is already around us, and is near-invisible to traditional urban planning perspectives. And I’d suggest that this data beginning to profoundly affect the way the street feels. Some quick analysis follows the narrative, raising a series of questions for governance, legislation and the public-private partnerships that also constitute the contemporary street.”
Dan Hill, former head of interactive technology and design at the BBC and currently director of web and broadcast at Monocle, has published a long article on the street of the future. Here is his introduction: