People, Technology & the City

Prior to the rise of smart phones, the line between digital and physical worlds was clearly defined by the on/off switch on a computer monitor. Today, does that line even exist? While Google Glass slowly continues to build a customer base, it’s the runaway success of Pokémon Go, the latest and arguably most popular iteration of augmented reality, that prompts this question. With the simple download of a free app, users can transform their surroundings into a giant game board, and in doing so, re-frame our environment(s). From health benefits to safety warnings, there’s no shortage of societal applications or opinions on this development. Focusing on city making, the potential for providing realistic and immersive renderings of projects is evident, while many who’ve never previously consider it, may evaluate the walkability of their cities. More broadly, the diffusion of augmented reality strengthens the value of lateral thinking in a world that is no longer confined to three dimensions.

Mitchell Reardon

Mitchell Reardon is the TH!NK by IBI blog curator, a land use planner and urban experimenter. His interdisciplinary work centres on people and how they live, work and move through the city. Mitchell is enjoying life in Vancouver, after 6 years of living and working in Stockholm, Sweden. Catch up with him on Twitter: @MitchellReardon

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