Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing

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Overview

Digital Ground is an architect's response to the design challenge posed by pervasive computing. One century into the electronic age, people have become accustomed to interacting indirectly, mediated through networks. But now as digital technology becomes invisibly embedded in everyday things, even more activities become mediated, and networks extend rather than replace architecture. The young field of interaction design reflects not only how people deal with machine interfaces but also how people deal with each other in situations where interactivity has become ambient. It shifts previously utilitarian digital design concerns to a cultural level, adding notions of premise, appropriateness, and appreciation. Malcolm McCullough offers an account of the inter-sections of architecture and interaction design, arguing that the ubiquitous technology does not obviate the human need for place. His concept of "digital ground" expresses an alternative to anytime-anyplace sameness in computing; he shows that context not only shapes usability but ideally becomes the subject matter of interaction design and that "environmental knowing" is a process that technology may serve and not erode.

Drawing on arguments from architecture, psychology, software engineering, and geography, writing for practicing interaction designers, pervasive computing researchers, architects, and the general reader on digital culture, McCullough gives us a theory of place for interaction design. Part I, "Expectations," explores our technological predispositions -- many of which ("situated interactions") arise from our embodiment in architectural settings. Part II, "Technologies," discusses hardware, software, and applications, including embedded technology ("bashing the desktop"), and building technology genres around life situations. Part III, "Practices," argues for design as a liberal art, seeing interactivity as a cultural -- not only technological -- challenge and a practical notion of place as essential. Part IV, "Epilogue," acknowledges the epochal changes occurring today, and argues for the role of "digital ground" in the necessary adaptation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...[A] way to think about how we might intelligently respond to the computer kudzu without letting it take over the garden." Michael J. Crosbie Architectural Record
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262134354
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Pages: 290
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Malcolm McCullough is Professor of Architecture at Taubman College, the University of Michigan. He is the author of Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand and Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing, both published by the MIT Press.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Pt. I Expectations
1 Interactive Futures 3
2 Embodied Predispositions 27
3 Habitual Contexts 47
Pt. II Technologies
4 Embedded Gear 67
5 Location Models 97
6 Situated Types 117
Pt. III Practices
7 Designing Interactions 147
8 Grounding Places 171
9 Accumulating Value 193
Pt. IV Epilogue
10 Going Native 211
Notes 215
Further Reading 253
References 255
Index 267
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