Place-Specific Computing: A Place-centric Perspective for Digital Designs
Jorn Messeter


An increased interest in the notion of place has evolved in interaction design based on the proliferation of wireless infrastructures, developments in digital media, and a ‘spatial turn’ in computing. In this article, place-specific computing is suggested as a genre of interaction design that addresses the shaping of interactions among people, place-specific resources and global socio-technical networks, mediated by digital technology, and influenced by the structuring conditions of place. The theoretical grounding for place-specific computing is located in the meeting between conceptions of place in human geography and recent research in interaction design focusing on embodied interaction. Central themes in this grounding revolve around place and its relation to embodiment and practice, as well as the social, cultural and material aspects conditioning the enactment of place. Selected examples of place-specific computing are presented from a series of pilot studies, conducted in close collaboration with design students in Malmö, Berlin, Cape Town and Rome, that generated 36 design concepts in the genre. Reflecting on these examples, issues in the design of place-specific computing are discussed, as well as questions for further research concerning how digitally mediated interactions can be understood as elements of practiced place.

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