© 2021

Wiring the Streets, Surfing the Square

Producing Public Space in the Mediated City

  • Articulates an inclusive view of the smart city as a social ecology, rather than from the point of view of technologies, systems or strategies

  • Details the affordances offered by digital technologies and their relevance to urban public spatial practices

  • Presents a theorization of the social dimension of the smart city by incorporating formal, informal, and strategic uses of digital technologies


Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Timothy Jachna
      Pages 3-19
  3. Conceptualizing Public Space in the Mediated City

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
    2. Timothy Jachna
      Pages 39-55
    3. Timothy Jachna
      Pages 57-72
    4. Timothy Jachna
      Pages 93-108
  4. Producing Public Space in the Mediated City

  5. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 209-209
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 227-238

About this book


This book investigates the production of public space in contemporary urban contexts as conditioned by the suffusion of urban life with digital technologies. A “social production of technology” approach is taken to frame the digitally-mediated city as a communal social and cultural project. Acknowledging the multivalent and shifting nature of public space and the heterogeneity of the urban actors who form it, the “agency” of these different actors in appropriating digital technologies takes center stage. The dynamics of negotiations between regimes of control and impulses towards freedom and experimentation, the entanglement of the spatial commons and the digital commons, changes in the notions of what constitutes membership in a public or counterpublic, and evolving relationships between the various individuals and groups who share and constitute public space, are all revealed in different actors’ appropriation of digital technologies in the formation of public spaces and the conducting of public life in cities.

The book is divided into two sections. Drawing on classic and contemporary scholars on public space, and on digital culture, Section I explores the implications of the convergence of these bodies of knowledge and lenses of critique and examination on the present urban condition, establishing a conceptual foundation upon which public space discourse is brought to bear on an interrogation of the “wired” or “mediated” city. Structured by the core concepts that underlie Hannah Arendt’s notion of agency in the constitution of the public sphere, Section II is devoted to discussing, and demonstrating through myriad concrete examples, how different “affordances” of digital technologies are implicated in the production of public space and in the interplay between urban governance and control, urban life and citizenship, and urban commodification. The topics in this book are of broad and current international relevance, and will appeal to scholars and students in architecture, urbanism, design, sociology, and digital culture.


Public space and spatial practice Social technologies Affordances of digital technologies Technical, social, and historical developmental perspectives Sensor-focused affordances Locative-focused affordances Urban actors in the mediated city Agency in public space Mediated urban life Mediated urban design urban geography and urbanism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

About the authors

Prof. Timothy Jachna is Dean of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago (BArch), the Architectural Association in London (AADipl), and RMIT University in Melbourne (PhD). He has previously held academic and professional posts in architecture, design and urbanism in Hong Kong, Berlin and Chicago, and has presented and published in disciplines as diverse as urban theory, tourism, digital culture, social innovation, semiotics, participatory design, art, architecture, planning, cybernetics, and human-computer interaction. His recent research and writing focus on psycho-sociological aspects of the planning, design, construction, and inhabitation of urban environments, the future of cities, and digital culture.  

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Oil, Gas & Geosciences