Urban Museum

Location-aware technologies used in the city create new layers of interaction between the people, technologies and the urban environment. Museums are nowadays investing in new technologies to enhance and immerse visitors in city’s history. The urban Museum MTL was launched in 2011 by London company Brothers and Siters in the city of Montreal and it was the first in Canada. It won a Gold Award in ‘Multimédi’Art interactif’ category. The city of Montreal created 150 discovering points in the city linked to an archive collection of Notman photographs of Mc Cord Museum of 1.2 million of photos.

This cutting-edge application works in the city with the use of the GPS on the phone and a pin map that indicates the points of view.The physical locations to explore are indicted by stickers .This works by a superimposition of a 2D actual images on streets to an archive historic 3D images with a display of information such as the date, object name and a description.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdOLMZQvBwQ

Theorist Erwin Goffman approaches with the “going way” whereby citizens in a public social setting escape their physical location with the use of various media technologies (Goffman, 1963). Critics of the use of mobile phones in public spaces argued that anything local around us is ignored while distance things become closer. A more radical view of the use of media on the city is the psychologist and environmentalist David Uzzel, who argued that, “technology in public space is equivalent to a virtual crime against humanity” (Uzzell, 2008).

However, according to Gordon & de Souza e Silva, A (2011), the use of mobile phone technology transformed urban spaces with an increased engagement in local life, community participation and civic engagement. We can think that maybe these new applications are withdrawing citizens from their physical place but, in the meantime, it may bring them another layer of culture and excitement to rediscover the city and its past.


de Souza e Silva, A. and Frith, J. (2012) ‘Location-aware technologies: control and privacy in hybrid spaces’ in Communication matters: materialist approaches to media, mobility and networks, ed. by Packer, J. and Crofts Wiley, S.B., New York: Routledge, pp. 265-275

Goffman, E. (1963) Behavior in Public Places. New York: Free Press

Gordon, E. and de Souza e Silva, A. (2011) Net locality: why location matters in a networked world, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 85-10

Uzzell, D. (2008) People-Environment Relationships in a Digital World. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 25 No.1 : 94-105


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