Networks, interfaces, and computer-generated images: learning from digital visualisations of urban redevelopment projects

The first paper from the project looking at digital visualisations of new urban developments is now online at Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, authored by myself, Monica Degen and Clare Melhuish. This is the abstract:

Over the past five years, computer-generated images (CGIs) have become commonplace as a means to market urban redevelopments. To date, however, they have been given relatively little attention as a new form of visualising the urban. In this paper we argue that these CGIs deserve more attention, and attention of a particular kind. We argue that, instead of approaching them as images situated in urban space, their digitality invites us to understand them as interfaces circulating through a software-supported network space. We use an actor-network theory understanding of ‘network’ and argue that the action done on and with CGIs as they are created takes place at a series of interfaces. These interfaces—between and among humans, software, and hardware—are where work is done both to create the CGI and to create the conditions for their circulation. These claims are explored in relation to the CGIs made for a large urban redevelopment project in Doha, Qatar. We conclude by suggesting that geographers need to reconsider their understanding of digital images and be as attentive to the interfaces embedded in the image as to the CGI’s visual content.

 

About profgillian

I'm a professor of cultural geography at The Open University in the UK. View all posts by profgillian

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