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What the Digital Public Way Might Look Like

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 26 2011

A few weeks back, I pointed out that people like Chicago Chief Technology Officer John Tolva were starting to think in concrete terms about what it will mean for public space to have an increasing number of digital, interactive objects demanding the attention of passersby.

Tolva calls it the digital public way, but he isn't the only one who's thinking about what happens when idea meets reality here. From roadside billboard ads that display exactly what someone thinks you might like because the government has sold the dataset connecting your name with your license plate number to public buildings that project their energy usage on their exterior walls, there's a lot of theory on the books here.

Here's one example of what that might look when made real: Urbanflow, a project of Urbanscale and the Helsinki-based Nordkapp. The two firms want to take digital displays already on the ground in Helsinki and make them do this: