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Digital personal space: From the plaza to the global canopy

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This article discusses how ubiquitous computing, big data and the Internet of Things are changing the form of personal space. The study presented is substantiated by a series of tests conducted in the public space of the Plaza de Los Palos Grandes in Caracas. This square consists of a public library, a square and annexed services. The aim of this work is to visualize the discrete nature of the data cloud that surrounds people in the public realm while they communicate through the Internet. Building on a number of spatial definitions of personal spaces, including Sommer’s soap bubble and Sloterdijk’s notions of sphereology, this study suggests that today’s personal space can be more accurately represented through the form of a global canopy, where invisible vectors intersect without disturbance. This study describes how public activities in the square exceed the physical space of the plaza and extend to larger urban and global scales.
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Keywords: Big Data; IoT; Sphereology; digital space; personal space; plaza; public space

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Hertfordshire

Publication date: 01 March 2018

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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