Producing Communities of Communications and Foreknowledge

Jason Liszkiewicz
email: hologramr [at]

This will be printed in a book in April 2008 (available at Amazon) called
"Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace"

Also available in Flash ePaper

Originally accepted for the CUPUM (Computers in Urban Planning and Urban Management)
July 2007 conference in Brazil
This was expanded July through November 2007
I’m encouraging the development of what I call “community-interest-driven technologies.”

The vision is to virtually manifest the operations of cities and to have multi-layered mappings of knowledge and statistics from all fields that can be navigated by users so we can become familiar with what we will be encountering during traveling to better prepare for our unique circumstances.

The intention is to develop this towards the direction of a highly participatory infrastructure, converging simulation technology with mobile technology where open source intelligence and public collective intelligence is exchanged and applied, moving us closer to a direct influence on the shaping of our psycho-social environments, economic designs, policies, and beyond.

The aim is a greater understanding of the processes that have manifested the current world status thru the organizing of the fragments that form the whole of society, making the necessary bridging, connections, and partnerships to produce “smarter cities," (not merely through so-called "smart technology").

Keywords: Animation, Video Games, Computer Aided Design, Data Collection, Simulation, Geographic Information Systems & Mapping, Information Technology, Public Participation, New Media, Social Software, Public Spaces, Media Architecture, Media Ecology, Urban Social Networking, Open Data, Open Government.

I speak as an independent researcher & self-proclaimed "conceptual architect" and do not represent any group or school of thought. Anything you see or hear that you relate to any group or school of thought you are familiar with is coincidental and unintended.

Major themes of this presentation are: CIRCULATION of PREPARATION & TRANSITIONS in relation to the abstract connections of “Electri.City, Recipro.City, The Circuit, and The Circulation of a City.”

On an intriguing linguistic note, other words with "city" in them:
Capacity, ethnicity, electricity, reciprocity, synchronicity, velocity, tenacity, mendacity, rapacity, veracity, simplicity, duplicity, multiplicity, complicity, scarcity, publicity, toxicity, audacity, elasticity, atrocity, authenticity.

Airplanes, trains, and buses import and export the human value and personality of cities.
Obviously, all of us can gain foreknowledge before visiting a new city by reading, watching videos, talking with people who’ve lived there, and eventually talking with citizens upon arrival.

Screen on the back of an airplane seat
(currently available on some airlines)
Imagine the travel-information environment as gaming
(currently available inside the home and online Shanghai)

The transition of flying from one city to another by airplane into airports are territories to provide travelers with foreknowledge to welcome them to the city of their destination, respecting the time management of their futures by equipping them with foreknowledge they desire and what they can expect from the parts of the city they will encounter based on the specific routes and destinations they plan on traveling through.

Airports and train stations since their broad inception have posted foreknowledge in the form of updates for arrivals, departures, and cancellations. Airports are the welcoming stations of cities for people from all over the world.

This is one of the main starting points of creating a global identity that tells people from all over the planet how smart a city is governed. This to me is an enormous impression and an incredible environment to either provide preparation for people’s future in the city or overlook this potential to prepare people and miss the opportunities to catalyze the development of increasing the creative intelligence of a city’s operations by identifying every visitor as a potentially valuable contributor and receiver, respecting their past experiences and unique perspectives.

Since airplanes, airports, trains, train stations, and other methods of transportation are an extension of cities and a bridging or kind of circulatory system between cities, a useful opportunity would be enabling travelers to enter their travel plans into a virtual simulator or what could resemble a gaming interface where they could navigate through the city, navigate into the city’s historical records, statistics, and eventually near real-time information environments, discovering and building an awareness of the city’s character, personality, and inter-relationships. It would be cool to have this on the back of every seat on a plane and train and at airports, train stations, and bus depots, and eventually conveniently downloadable in pieces to a mobile device.

We have weather updates, stock market updates, traffic updates, crime updates, and fire updates through radio and TV but nothing that taps the vast knowledge of a city beyond that at a level that puts all of this in the palm of someone’s hand (mobile device), kiosk, or other variety of display and navigation.

The only message that appeared on this
sign while I was waiting for my flight
Compare the under-utilized sign in the photo on the left with this extreme contrast/digital overload

I am speaking of a relation with technology that helps us to see passed concrete and metal, to create knowledge-spaces where the layers of history that reside & reach out beyond the physical materials on location are accessible and where these knowledge-spaces are interconnected with it's surrounding locations, bridging a knowledgeable past with our current and future decisions.

It can be said that even at the root of truth and freedom is access. The American statement of “land of opportunity” relates to access and what I call the “real estate of freedom.”

If we can develop a public interface to “mirror knowledge,” (vast publicly accessible knowledge-base visualization interface) where we begin to understand with more depth of how our particular city operates and relates to other cities, then we can be better prepared to influence and possibly improve things according to an educated democratic decision process creatively brought into action.

Simulations have been used for many years by NASA, the military, commercial pilot training, and computer aided design of products. I think it’s time to spill over these proven methods into advancing public community developments, not just government and corporate developments of an extremely limited and controlled scale.

I would like to see the virtual world, simulation technology, and gaming navigation through information environments as steps into developing more “real estates of freedom” that allow us to envision city’s from a more prepared perspective, (our minds as informed environments) enabling us to take the virtual foreknowledge experienced into the excitement and hectic strains of urban travel.

Let's not view and govern our cities like museums! (distant past & untouchable)

Which leads to the most important aspect of this model, which is programming these technologies with "Internet" capabilities, spilling the qualities and attributes of the Internet into mobile and console interfaces where models of cities can be navigated through, people can post messages for others to meet someone new, and people can add public contributions to the virtual representation of their city, “publishing” not merely observing.

An example moving closer and closer to this is the Google Earth community’s Showcase


Imagine virtualizing any city, facilitating the means to enable people to dream of what they would like to see in their cities no matter how outrageous. Encouraging participation before, during, and after the building of an infrastructure to harness contributions from everyone who will be affected locally.

Science fiction must have its science and those in the urban development and engineering fields must be attracted to this model to balance any excesses of fantasy that can arise from including many people interacting to develop virtual dreamscapes into consistent physical daily reality.

Urban plans & architectural plans have usually been made public through motionless drawings & blueprints. People here at the CUPUM conference obviously have different ways of thinking about how to model and present work in a less static nature.

We know that a city is not comprised of situated objects. 24 hours a day, cities are alive with a heartbeat of patterns day in and day out. We are cities.

Life is animated, media should be too. Media is an extension of us as well as an influence on thought and behavior. Stagnant, uninteresting, and lack-of-depth-media will perish.
Information is just that, IN-FORMATION, not static.

If civic mediums are to gain traction they must be designed to not only keep up with the pace of a city’s news-stream but contain the aspirations of citizens, retaining what drives them, and therefore what drives the city, and what the future holds is what the citizens are willing and able to hold.

So I’ve gone from the transition of people being transported into a city. Consider these near future scenarios helping provoke communications and foreknowledge once a person is in a city:

Considerations for the Future:

+ As I’ve stated, simulation technology and communication platforms to attain foreknowledge in planes, trains, and other transport and public spaces (as well as contribute) where multiple layers of data and information environments are intelligently modeled to prepare travelers before they enter urban landscapes whether new or revisited.

+ Installing interfaces at subway stations that deliver foreknowledge instead of warnings related to past circumstances. For example, NYC’s MTA (Mass Transit Authority) would rather install posters that tell people not to run down a staircase (many injuries and I would imagine, many lawsuits have occurred) then produce methods to lessen the reasons why people would run down the staircase.

One other oddity was the posting a 1-800 number inside a subway to report emergencies where there is obviously no phone signal the majority of the time en route.

Aside from upgrading subway stations to be more technically equipped like modern airports, another proposal is to have digital updates of train arrival and departures ABOVE GROUND at the stairwells of subway stations as well as accessible via mobile device (text messaging/sms) to eliminate people running down stairs from lack of foreknowledge that could have been used to time arrival
without resulting to running down stairs
(As of 2009, this mobile/SMS alert service has begun! A good start)
Media screens over 60 blocks from each other loop the same commercials
(technical difficulties with this one)
How many superior ideas are there other than putting large televisions
on the street?
If they don't get'cha at one
station, they will at another.

Another subway station idea as it relates to an "online/offline pipeline" (partnerships) is the simple example that has a lost and found section and many posts there are for things that were lost in the subway stations or trains. Nowhere in any subway station or train will you see a poster or sign about Craigslists’ lost & found section.
(Example of a reason to “mirror knowledge” since not everyone is aware of this).

Developing Google’s SMS service (or some other similar local service) into these ideas would provide subway arrival updates and lost and found searches via mobile device text messages without the need for internet access or the latest mobile device operating system

+ Wireless Internet access in underground facilities such as subway systems. Drivers have underground communications and foreknowledge but not commuters yet commuters astronomically outnumber those who are drivers and who oversee operations.

+ Media-spaces made available to be rented by citizens from those who have apartments and those who own houses and businesses who would like to rent out space in windows or elsewhere. Those who pass by can interact with video screens using their mobile devices, posting digital graffiti and producing digital bulletin boards relevant to the neighborhood or some other variety of ideas.

+ Locating and messaging taxis via mobile device (text messaging/sms) when drivers can’t see you and you can’t see them. Whether it’s very late at night or not obvious that a taxi might be one block away, a mobile device messaging system would be of great value to both the driver and person looking for a driver (location-detecting transceiver).

+ Integrating natural sounds and sound insulation into cities to combat the excesses of noise that bounces off concrete, steel, and from vehicles, and to provide extra sanity versus the avalanche of corporate messages, noise pollution, and vehicle pollution. Notable related link (NY Society for Acoustic Ecology)

+ City-to-Citizen Satellites—Governments with military agendas launch satellites in the name of their country and telecommunications companies have theirs to sustain networks for monetary gain. Can cities utilize satellites to cast real time data to citizens with mobile devices and to kiosks? And if compatible mobile devices are not available, public spaces could be ideal places to access every variety of rich content for citizens along with foreign travelers seeking to become more familiar and to attain new discoveries.

It's time to upgrade the tourist/visitor's "information booth."

+ One of my favorite ideas is the “citizens' intelligence network." One aspect would be having a local phone service to connect with people who have made themselves available with access to the Internet and highly sufficient intelligence resources to provide callers with near-instant content, finding anything they ask for while roaming the streets or in a car or in a facility without Net access.

Some ideas of mine related to a citizens’ intelligence network were written about in a small business print newspaper for Brooklyn New York, calling it a “community of the future”.

Someone in England saw the ideas I posted online ( and sent me a dimly similar layout, which excited me and is being used right now in London called Directionless Enquiries -

This is no small matter as “citizen intelligence networks” were also mentioned in an article in Forbes magazine in 2006 by a colleague of mine, Robert Steele - LINK

+ Landing Lights Park Second Life Project: A friend of mine who is on a committee in Queens, NY is involved in taking park real estate and modeling it at and getting people in the neighborhood to contribute ideas to its development -


+ Computerized Neighborhood Environment Tracking (ComNET) - link

+ Urban Projection Media Courtesy of the Glass Bead Collective (videos)

+ "SMS Enabled Interactive Street Performance" of mobile text + projection technology + "cartoon bubbles" videos and photos

+ Geo-Spatial Archaeology NYC - LINK

+ Wi-Fi Salon: Free wireless access in 18 Parks and Recreation locations in NYC - I mentioned to the head engineer of this project the idea of “a park” being “A park experience” and he said of Wi-Fi Salon Project as “Urban wireless renewal to in part help undo the influence of Robert Moses, who carved through neighborhoods and landscapes. Wireless will emphasize the local park and neighborhood -- local content, building community, a sense of place.”

Wireless access in a park converges two freedoms. The freedom away from the noise, concrete, metal, and movements of the city and into the complimentary qualities that a park experience has on our human qualities, and combine this with the freedom to explore one’s interests through wireless access.
This seemingly intangible yet accessible resource of wireless connectivity is a new urban landscape. A potential “real estate of freedom” amplified by the park experience and with the potential to affect minds in new ways, thereby affecting the city in new ways.

I would anticipate the arrival of maps showing wireless reception strength for neighborhoods and people making themselves available for public interaction through instant messaging to meeting in-person similar to and both based out of NYC which are mobile device social software.

+ There is an acoustical technology contraption at the 34th street NYC subway station sponsored by MIT, Apple, Bose, and about 6 other groups that based on my personal experience has provoked communication between strangers even at distances of about 60 feet. One major contributor was Christopher Janney -


+ Studio IMC in NYC had an installation at the Museum for TV & Radio in 2006 called “Beyond TV” that utilized mobile devices and video screens for people to send messages and draw on the screens remotely using the mobile device screen back-lighting as a “drawing pen.” They've done public projects and seem to be the sole company with leading visions to upgrade a city, unlocking untapped potential. + City of the Future Graphic they made

+ eLumenati Immersive Media (Dome theater displays, installations, research, & experiments)

+ NYC as you can imagine now holds several events each year related to democracy, technology, and the democratization of media (email me for more information).

+ Largest geographic information systems group in NYC - GISMO

+ Virtual London Project, 3-D modeling of the city - LINK
(Not falling into using this in conjunction with their defective surveillance society is crucial, we don't need a 21st century dark age of accelerated paranoia and suspicion)

+ Virtual Berlin - LINK

+ Virtual Amsterdam - -"Arounder" & "Panoramsterdam"

+ - Project developed by women from California, Italy, and London to distribute music through mobile devices and stations located in the subway system, provoking connectivity underground which can be a place of awkward isolation - LINK

+ Pattern Language - “Architects and Builders Rebuilding Neighborhoods/Rebuilding the Urban Geography of Earth," based on the book by Christopher Alexander - LINK

+ "Senseable" City Lab of M.I.T. - LINK

+ Interactive Bus Stop in Spain + these configurable mobile modules ("smart mobility systems")
My idea for this would be to imagine potential "public interactive intelligence pods" or public interactive mobile pods for bus stops, trains, subways, etc. where a free exchange of creatively intelligent ideas take place everyday & night with diverse local and international travelers.

There are many more related links at and other related ideas are in the presentation I did for the Media Ecology Association Convention at Boston College in the summer of 2006 –

100% of a city is influenced by 2 colors, the green and red lights at intersections. I see this as a binary aspect of the urban motherboard that citizens have accepted as being a benefit to a city’s health. When there is disregard of this as I have experienced, disaster can happen (someone running a red-light smashing into my car, not going along with the urban health ‘program’).


This can signify that laws and programs should co-exist to govern (and co-govern) for the health of people, not to control and exploit.

Cities are comprised of uncanny amounts of design, collective workforce, historical significance, and part of countless memories in people’s lives. People become aspects of the cities they live in. If conscious of this, I think city planners, conceptual architects, and builders have a responsibility to encode their works with this in mind. They, you and I, we, are influencing the design of people’s minds and behaviors, which in turn will reflect on our reputation.

I am loosely though persistently connecting with people in the NYC region to find those in the architectural, urban planning, technology fields, intelligence fields, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and others to fuel the realization of the community empowerment potential in not relying excessively on government to solve problems they have proven to not be able to solve, stagnating, or producing counter-productive effects on the communities they claim to serve and protect.

My theory is that forming a communications of mapped unified intelligence available and circulating in city hot-spots can provoke immunity, building a community immune system.

The idea is to network intelligence in diverse ways to form communities of resources, pools of interest, feedback loops, and develop formats that harness collective intelligence to help self-organize and provide strategy development for community empowerment, and if persisted, possible self-governance and revitalize disassociated citizens who are willing and able to contribute their creative exploration and unique powers.

"Encoding" our cities with the themes of FREEDOM, INTELLIGENCE, CREATIVITY, & OPPORTUNITY, and for this to become a persistent cycle.

The consciousness of so many people is ignored and untapped due to our existing overburdened infrastructure that lacks a welcoming integration of citizen feedback within mass communications technologies, top notched organizational models, and workers to attend to these matters, for a more intelligent system to form through the bridging of these sectors, without relying excessively on the human element or the technological element.

The pursuit of a strategic communications intelligence infrastructure that supports creative explorations and contributions from a diverse citizenry to me is an attainable goal and to be seriously considered as a progressive advancement for any city.

^ T O P ^

(Scrollable Photo-Set)

The Time Warp That Is Times Square
(Photos Scroll Side-ways)

Instead of Exploring the Possibilities,
We Persist in a Toxicity of Redundancy
With Media Environments Like This:

^ U P ^

Side note: I conjured up these ideas before finding any of the links/projects posted in this presentation.
Finding all these existing projects became exciting on how to converge their complementary themes with the idea of retro-fitting a city with an "online-offline-pipeline."

Other city related links of interest
Scalable City | City-Data | New Rules | Next American City | Architecture for Humanity
Community-Wealth | Worldviewcities | Mobillizy-Wikitude | DIY City | Hypercities
Trains throughout the World | Travis Ruse Subway Muse Photos | Mr. Smith Goes to Tokyo | NextBus