Wi-Fi helping create a sense of place?

With wireless internet, traditionalists feared that ‘place’ wouldn’t matter anymore. Indeed, it’s never mattered more. Here are some of the ways, as highlighted in Salon’s Urban renewal, the wireless way.

– All that digital communication is inevitably going to lead to face-face communication. Since digital dialogue encourages multiple participants simultaneously (depending on how cool you are), nothing provides a better physical meeting spot than the third place.

– Athens GA’s 24-block wireless downtown (the Cloud) has led to more people visiting its third places, restaurants and live music venues. Find out how here.

– Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are ‘invisible flyers’ that allow passersby to wave their cellphone at a restaurant or theater to get other patrons’ reviews, or leave their own, or download an audio tour of a neighborhood as you walk through it.

– You can even play place-based games, or enjoy a ‘walk-in’ movie where you plug your earphones into your digital-sound-capable cell phone to watch a movie in a town square.

The point is, this evolving digital infrastructure begins to shape the physical infrastructure around it rather than vice versa, and in the name of a higher quality of life.

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