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Urban planners in Fused Space

Can new technology improve the quality of public space? We know that technology changes the ways we use public space, but the most important ways tend not to have been consciously designed – they just happened. The widespread use of text-2-meet, for example, was not anticipated by the people who invented text messaging; and many of the egregious phone services dreamed up by marketing agencies disappeared without trace – in most cases deservedly. In this context, it was a lot of fun to be a juror on last year’s Fused Space design competition. Fused Space was inspired by the question: can artists and designers do a better job than the marketing industry in creating new application for ITC in public space? The 300+ entries satisfied this juror, at least, that the answer is yes. Fused Space has now become an exhibition – confusingly re-named Fused Space Database – at the Stroom arts centre in The Hague. Using a barcode scanner or a database, visitors can follow several trails through the many ideas raised by the competition’s proposals. On 21 September, a meeting will be held for city and regional policymakers to discuss whether the ideas raised in Fused Space might be used in real-world planning and development.

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