Surfacing digital in physical: How data is changing our streets and cities

On Thursday May 15 I have the pleasure of hosting the next Creative Social, the global digital collective/get-together brought to Sydney by Profero.

I invited the immensely thoughtful Dan Hill, who was leading the design on BBC’s and Monocle‘s web sites before joining Arup in Sydney. Dan writes amazingly dense blog posts on City of Sound and I tend to read them after work as I am otherwise not able to catch enough time or head space. My former St.Edmonds Lab fellow Dave King confesses to actually printing them out.

But enough of this intro, I am making him appear to be an über-bookworm while in fact Dan is a very inspiring and resourceful mind. Dan previews his talk with the following:


Surfacing digital in physical: How data is changing our streets and cities

image of Melbourne by Wanderungen

The streets are now alive with data, invisible but all pervasive. Buildings can now talk to each other and virtually every object that comes within range, human or not. Given this new potential, how do we design better streets, better buildings? How should we see the street as a platform? What are the creative challenges now that we can make things talk?

We’ll pause to consider the volume of data already immersing our streets, before moving on through a whirlwind global tour of best practice in:

* designing digital systems for physical spaces;
* interactive architecture and new materials in facades;
* sensing the digital traces left by people in cities;
* new wayfinding and transit systems;
* the interplay between mobile devices and streets


I am sure the talk plus questions and discussion will be pretty inspiring for all of us. His post on how a game like GTA adds to the “visualization” of Los Angeles (just like Chinatown did as a movie) is definitely a good intro to Thursday’s event.
Santa Maria in GTA
image of GTA by Dan Hill

For those who would like to learn more about Dan’s work on media design / webcasting, this is quite a treasure post on the design process and brand building at and this one documents the work on “re-inventing radio” at the BBC a couple of years earlier.
image of Monocle by Dan Hill


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s