From Hybrid Spaces to Experiencing Augmented Places

by Matthias Korn at Workshop on Mobile Communication as a Cultural, Spatial and Social Phenomenon, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, March 29, 2012.

When mobile location-based systems interweave physical and digital spaces, augmented places emerge. I understand places as "the ways in which settings acquire recognizable and persistent social meaning in the course of interaction" (Dourish 2006: 299). Places can attain an augmented quality through the superposition of two modes of experience: physical and digital experiences. Technologies, I will argue, can help us to use this augmented quality for reflection and deliberation processes.

Based on case studies, I will explore how physical and digital spaces are brought into connection and how this connection is experienced by users: To which extent are augmented places viewed as integrated wholes? How does technology mediate interaction with augmented places?

In my presentation, I will address these questions drawing on examples from two participatory design cases in the domain of participatory urban planning and one study on the use of Foursquare, a location-based social networking service. The two participatory design cases explore questions of how 'being there' may facilitate reflection through the use of a mobile location-based discussion platform. The Foursquare study specifically investigates how the link between physical and digital is created and experienced by users.