Project

Timelapse: Cityscapes in motion

Besides being one of the most beautiful videos I have ever seen, this short time lapse piece on the changing and entirely fluid nature of cityscapes is revealing. A good projection at how cities themselves are organic constructs, fluid in their dependencies. The structures themselves are mediated by and mediate the motion through them, the people. Much more symbiotic than we used to believe. It is from Dominic Boudreault, a motion photographer, who spent a year capturing the cityscapes of Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Manhattan, and Chicago.

Further, I think the video demonstrates instances of a pattern language, small crosssections of each of the cities reveal larger truths that can be applied interchangeably. Further patterns can be seen in the way that structures and the motion through them inform one another; lanes, streets, vertical and horizontal thoroughfares acting as syntax to connote meaning.

What I think this provides us in terms of educational or interactive design is the understanding that structures dictates activity (to some degree-although this has been well known for quite some time) and that design is impacted by motion. If we want to fully embrace the city as learning space, as a truly symbiotic interactive space, then we must consider it an active agent in the formation of our understanding of truth, in our constructions of knowledge. Technologically, we should be embedding the ability for structure to record interactions much the same as humans do. Sensors that trigger when structures are approached. The wind signalling a shift in the upper floors of a skyscraper. The elevator activating. A pedestrian sitting on a park bench. All can record interaction not just for environmental purposes (to regulate energy consumption) but to help visualize these seemingly sedentary objects as active agents in our construction of meaning.

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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