research link dump: (mobile) branding, (geo)tagging, and (virtual) graffiti

By | March 18, 2010

So this weekly round-up is a bit different from my usual semi-regular link dump of stuff I’ve been reading. The past couple of weeks, I’ve been lax on blogging the past couple of weeks because I’ve been busy firing my little synapses at issues surrounding the how branding + geotagging/location check-in (e.g. foursquare, gowalla) affect how we encounter urban and public space (and each other within it. It’s quickly turning into a full blown captical-P Project. I’ll start posting some prelimenary thoughts/questions next week, but for now, some of posts, articles, and books that I’ve been drawing on in the initial concept mapping phase.

So, in a way, this is part link-dump, part project-emergence-documentation.

I started thinking about these issues with the recent surge in discussions of brand collaborations with popular geolocation social games, especial with all the chatter in SXSW reports about the rise of location-specific (I know people are using the term geolocation, but I’ve yet to really embrace that tautology) games and social networking tools.

Location check-in networks therefore have two obvious precedents: display advertising and graffiti culture.

  • One of the (geographic) sites of interest is Sao Paulo, a city famous for its unique graffiti culture and for banning outdoor advertising. Hector Fernando Burga’s briefly outlines [pdf] a number of papers given at the Decentering Urban Theory conference at UC Berkeley focusing on new productions of urban space, including one by Prof. Teresa Caldeira on the “auto-construction” of Sao Paulo, where citizens engage in slow, collaborative, ad-hoc rebuilding of the city. These and other sites like it reveal “another dimension of place-making” that geotagging and location check-ins also seem to fit into.
  • Also on the urban theory front, I’m looking into a classic in the field, Kevin Lynch’s Image of the City.
  • And going in the other direction, I’m trying to think of how to situate the geolocation social activities between public and private, and starting with The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, which explores how we encounter the most intimate and domestic spaces.
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