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Digital Urban Living

2007-2011 (Strategic research project)

Participants from DARC: Christian Ulrik Andersen, Tatiana Bazzichelli, Morten Breinbjerg, Geoff Cox, Tobias Ebsen, Jonas Fritsch, Lone Koefoed Hansen, Lars Bo Løfgreen, Søren Pold.

The objective of the strategic research centre Digital Urban Living is to address new forms of digital urban living reflected by the societal and technological development of the experience economy. Our hypothesis is that the nature of digital urban living can be addressed in a productive way by a complementary and integrated set of theoretical perspectives:

  • a) Experience communication
  • b) Interface aesthetics
  • c) Interaction design
  • d) Innovation management

The activities of the centre will be based on, and reinforce public-private cooperation by organizing projects according to a research-based, user-driven innovation, and explorative case-based activity model.  In keeping with this model, four cases – Civic communication in urban spaces, Participation in cultural heritage, Digital art in urban space, and New urban areas – have been initially selected, and constitute the basis for involving citizens, industry, and public institutions in case-driven research with a concern for innovations and partnering, leading to new businesses.

DARC mainly (but not only) contributes to the research project by covering the areaInterface Aesthetics.

Interface Aesthetics

When the computer becomes a cultural medium, cultural interfaces with aesthetic values, strategies, and designs are needed. Consequently, the development of urban interfaces can also profit from an aesthetic, cultural approach. From classical monuments to the 1960s Situationists and the 1970s New Game Movement, art plays a crucial role in defining and reflecting urban spaces. Contemporary art projects and groups such as Ars Electronica Futurelab’s WikiMap, The People Speak, and Blast Theory explore user-generated content in new digital formats and genres (e.g. urban games, locative media, and urban screens). They thereby continue the tradition, and further reflect on the ways in which experiences of interfaces affect spaces and digital urban living.

Based on research in interface culture and interface aesthetics, the interplay between the urban space, its citizens, and new interfaces will be investigated. The hypothesis is that art and artistic practices can enrich digital urban living. They can contribute to a democratic urban space by exploring how new interfaces affect relations between public and private, and generate new forms of civic communication and creative production. They can contribute to an enriched cultural environment by engaging citizens in a dialogue, with cultural history and heritage forming new urban identities. Thus, art and artistic practices become a key part of new urban interfaces. Through strategies from digital art and literature, sound art, and computer games, this perspective will contribute to digital urban living by addressing how aesthetics for new urban interfaces can be developed, as well as addressing the basic question:

How may new kinds of interfaces affect relations between the public and the private, and generate new forms of civic communication and creative production?


The Danish Council for Strategic Research, KINO, grant number 2128-07-0011.

The Danish Council for Strategic Research, The IKT-corridor, grant number 07-014564

European Regional Development Fund and Region Central Denmark

The City of Aarhus