A city that’s legible is easy to understand and to navigate, i.e. to read. You can read a city’s people, moods, signs, and what it denotes and connotes. In a previous post I explored the prospect that you might write a city, as well as read it. According to this theory, a city participates in … Continue reading
Who would deny that a whisper excites the senses. People are accustomed to music listening via headsets. The speaking voice at intimate proximity surpasses even musical affect. In any case, the voice is immediate, close, of the moment, embodied, and active. Sounds envelop, as if clouds, with the voice, or certain voices, breaking like a … Continue reading
Question to Siri: “What’s The Wizard of Oz about?” Siri: “It’s about some Dorothy, her intelligent assistants, and her little dog too. Some are not so intelligent, I guess.” The development of speech recognition and speech synthesis on smartphones (eg Siri) brings to mind how important the voice is in helping people feel engaged, at least … Continue reading
After two weeks of warm up, followed by seventeen days of recovery, came the real olympics, where applause and cheers were offered up for personal life triumphs, rather than for just winning on the track. The ordinary Olympics prepared the way, and put people in the mood for the Power-olympics. The other mood clinchers for … Continue reading
This is Dying Matters Awareness Week in the UK. We are a “death denying” society inept at dealing with bereavement, planning for the end of life, and making arrangements for after we are gone. On the other hand, thanks to television, films, video games and the Internet, we confront our mortality every waking moment of … Continue reading
The perennial tussle between the right to free speech and the right to privacy has a spatial dimension of relevance to any designer. Architects, geographers and planners are acutely aware of the relationships between public and private spaces. Free speech roughly equates to the right of access to a place (eg a city square, the … Continue reading
Tom Hooper’s film The King’s Speech demonstrates the vital importance of the human voice in establishing and maintaining power. If you can’t get the words out then you will never assert authority.
Silence is close to noise in its effects. In his study of a Paris housing estate, the sociologist Jean- François Augoyard reports the experiences of people inside an elevator: “Dramatic evocations are set in gear on the basis of noises.” Noises invoke haunted castles, but “the most dramatic images arise with the halt of the … Continue reading
There’s a sense of quiet after a snow fall, which brings to mind the importance of noise in everyday life. We think of noise as random and unattributable sounds. More technically, and as developed by mathematician and information theorist Claude Shannon, noise is any unstructured or random signal. Noisy signals are those with high entropy. … Continue reading
Build bridges that link across chasms and break down walls that divide communities: these are the spatial symbols of transformation towards reconciliation and unity, ie transilience as a movement from one place to another. Who would deny that communities need to seek common ground and unite in shared purpose?