It seems lately, I can't keep up with all of the ways that the personal technology we carry with us everyday is surpassing architecture as the dominant means by which we navigate and adapt to the urban environment in which we live. When Marc Andreessen says that "software is eating the world" , I feel he should be speaking to architects and planners in addition to the Wall Street audience for which it was intended. How will the built environment evolve to adapt and receive these ephemeral means of satisfying our needs?
A great example of this comes from a NextNature post "Resizing Daddy" via my friend Willem at Google. (I''m especially excited to see Allison Guy's tags "virtual-for-real" and "boomeranged metaphors" which are both probably the majority of the content of NPD.)
The baby is seeking the same real time results to her request that she finds in her iPad experience. Essentially, we are seeking the same quick fix In Real Life which we find in software experiences.
Have you ever been working intensely in a program like Photoshop for several hours, and then back in the real world finding yourself thinking "Command-Z" when you want to reverse a mistake? If only it were so simple. But this phenomenon of our psyche suggests that we are frustrated by the snail's pace of adaptation to our evolving needs that is met by our static physical environment.
It's hard to imagine how we will see this software malleability manifest itself in the physicality of urban space. But it is exciting to see how the immediacy of software can potentially be mapped onto the urban landscape. A great example is a project by the phenomenal Graffiti Research Lab France called Laser Knuckles which my amazingly talented colleague Todd Vanderlin passed along.