ISBN-10:
0262134357
ISBN-13:
9780262134354
Pub. Date:
02/27/2004
Publisher:
MIT Press
Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing

Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing

by Malcolm McCullough
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Overview

A theory of place for interaction design.

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 intersections 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262134354
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 02/27/2004
Series: The MIT Press
Pages: 290
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Malcolm McCullough is Professor of Architecture at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand, Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing, and Ambient Commons: Attention in the Age of Embodied Information, all published by the MIT Press.

Table of Contents

Prefaceix
Acknowledgementsxi
Introductionxiii
Part IExpectations
1Interactive Futures3
2Embodied Predispositions27
3Habitual Contexts47
Part IITechnologies
4Embedded Gear67
5Location Models97
6Situated Types117
Part IIIPractices
7Designing Interactions147
8Grounding Places171
9Accumulating Value193
Part IVEpilogue
10Going Native211
Notes215
Further Reading253
References255
Index267

What People are Saying About This

Casey Reas

In Digital Ground Malcolm McCullough elegantly summarizes the past and present relations between architecture and computing, and constructs a solid foundation for future interaction between the two fields.

Richard Buchanan

This is one of the most thoughtful books in the emerging field of interaction design. It is well argued and solidly grounded in both the literature and experience of computing. McCullough provides a powerful explanation for why design—and interaction design in particular—is emerging as a liberal art of the twenty-first century. Digital Ground is important for the professional designer, the student of design, and the general public.

Dana Cuff

Malcolm McCullough's book charts a significant, unexplored terrain confronting architects and society at large. Pervasive computing is embedded, networked, ubiquitous, and capable of not only sensing and processing, but acting as well. This new form of computing holds the potential to restructure physical space and our relation to it, and McCullough provides an articulate and readable introduction to this new world, both promising and troubling. Digital Ground is a solid, early contribution to what will quickly become an important field of study for architecture, planning, and urban design.

Endorsement

Malcolm McCullough's book charts a significant, unexplored terrain confronting architects and society at large. Pervasive computing is embedded, networked, ubiquitous, and capable of not only sensing and processing, but acting as well. This new form of computing holds the potential to restructure physical space and our relation to it, and McCullough provides an articulate and readable introduction to this new world, both promising and troubling. Digital Ground is a solid, early contribution to what will quickly become an important field of study for architecture, planning, and urban design.

Dana Cuff, Professor of Architecture, University of California, Los Angeles

From the Publisher

In Digital Ground Malcolm McCullough elegantly summarizes the past and present relations between architecture and computing, and constructs a solid foundation for future interaction between the two fields.

Casey Reas, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea

Malcolm McCullough's book charts a significant, unexplored terrain confronting architects and society at large. Pervasive computing is embedded, networked, ubiquitous, and capable of not only sensing and processing, but acting as well. This new form of computing holds the potential to restructure physical space and our relation to it, and McCullough provides an articulate and readable introduction to this new world, both promising and troubling. Digital Ground is a solid, early contribution to what will quickly become an important field of study for architecture, planning, and urban design.

Dana Cuff, Professor of Architecture, University of California, Los Angeles

B.J. Novitski

Like it or not, our physical environment is beginning to fill with embedded and ubiquitous computing devices. Are we attending sufficiently to their design and to their effects on our lives? How will they change our traditional notions of architecture? Questions largely ignored because they are too difficult or too painful—to answer are confronted head-on in McCullough's thoughtful and provocative essay.

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Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
jorgecardoso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have just finished reading Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing by Malcolm McCullough. I'll try to give here a short review. The books' main idea is the need for interaction design and the need to always take place into account when designing ubiquitous systems. Chapter 1 - Interactive Futures - talks about what the meaning of the term ubiquitous and how other technologial-oriented terms like cyberspace have never quite hold up to the myth. "[...] Weiser defined ubiquitous computing as 'hundreds of computers per person'", "Many of these terms have become overexposed.", "[...] ubiquity [...] now is applied to all manner of globalizing technology." Chapter 2 - Embodied Predispositions - starts an argumentation, which continues on chapter 3 - Habitual Contexts, for the need to put people and place (our body is our first place) at the center of the design. "Ubiquitous computing, in its universalist version has overlooked the value of context." Chapter 4 - Embedded Gear - talks about the hardware components that can be used in ubiquitous computing and how they can be used in fact to produce "situated computing". Chapter 5 - Location models - talks about location models which necessarily have to include people, activity. "Location models are not just maps of physical position, but are also representations of activity and organization." Chapter 6 - Situated Types - presents a typology of thirty situations which include:Deliberating (places for thinking)Presenting (places for speacking to groups)Collaborating (places for working within groups)Dealing (places for negotiating)... Chapter 7 - Designing Interactions - "presents interactivity as a cultural and not only technical challenge." Chapter 8 - Grounding Places - presents a concept of place and chapter 9 - Accumulating Value, arguments that the value of place is not just economical. On a more personal note, this book is not a very practical one in the sense that you will not find practical advice on how to create situated systems. It's more of a theoretical book and thus, at least for me, some chapters were hard to read.