When we think of the future, our imagination conjures images of quasi-magic interactions while holographic displays glow in shades of blue or green. These will be there in some form, but they will be tactics, not strategy.
Strategy will be largely invisible, silently producing its effects while we are busy doing something else. And as we move much of what we do online, the architecture of the blended spaces we traverse to shop, exercise our rights, educate or take care of ourselves becomes integral to the fabric of society itself. Information architectures shape, for good or for bad, our conversations, our ethics, and our politics.
Crowd control moves from the streets to Twitter. Mobbing gets mobile. Facebook campaigns displace votes and funds.
This is a world whose structures are increasingly built on software handshakes and digital whispers: can we really say a blue glow is all there is? Not worry about privacy, policies, control, and ultimately freedom? Or do we have a different role, different expectations, different responsibilities? Shouldn’t we step up our game and recognize how, as much as city planning and architecture are strategic design for physical spaces, information architecture is strategic design for the cross-channel, blended spaces we contribute creating?
Adopting a place-making perspective and examining the challenges through the lens of examples ranging from 19th century city planning to videogames, from mobile apps to the Ferguson unrest and all the way to self-driving cars, the Darknet, and Facebook Free Basics, this talk discusses what are the consequences of digital and physical space merging and examines what is at stake for information architecture and society as a whole as information spaces scale up from the library and the store to organize a continuous blended space of endless possibilities, and control.
Andrea Resmini is an assistant professor at Jönköping International Business School, in Jönköping, Sweden. Architect, information architect, compulsive reader, pensive writer, videogamer, piano player, Andrea is the Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Information Architecture, and the author of Pervasive Information Architecture and Reframing Information Architecture. He tweets at @resmini and his personal website is andrearesmini.com.