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(Deutsche Version)

What connotations arise the term "Urban Media"?

The City as medium: Urban Media should be more than a popular term for web design firms and out of home advertisement companies, dedicated to the commercial world of our cities! In April 2005 the URBAN MEDIA SALON began with an informal questionnaire in addressing the virtual networks of mailing lists, colleagues and personal friends: What connotations arise the term "Urban Media"? A first stepto work collaboratively on a (re)definition of the term and to question the common notion about the connection of media an urban space. Within the limits of the questionnaire, the intuitive, humorous and very versatile answers show the vagueness of the concept inspiring the first discussions of the Salon.

The call

A search in Google for the term "Urban Media" reveals a clear tendency? The first 10 links are described below.

"Sarai" and "photographs of Melbourne graffiti" seem to be really mavericks. Where is the "urban", that receives a connection with the media in these companies decorating themselves with this term? Does "media" in connection with "urban" have to be associated especially with web design or outdoor advertisement? This inspired me to do this little questionnaire which I would like to publish on my website quasi as counteroffensive. A first attempt to broaden the prevalent image of "urban media" with my aim to step by step achieve a redefinition.

Therefore: What do you associate with the term "Urban Media"?
Please simply reply to this e-mail with a short statement of yours about "Urban Media".

Thank you for your effort.
With kind wishes,

Goggle search "Urban Media" in April 2005:

1. Company focused on African American and urban-themed entertainment. Includes films, discussions, links and contacts.
2. Offers web design, marketing and promotion, hosting, database design, technical support and related services.
3. Sarai The New Media Initiative Delhi India. ... A space for research, practice and conversation about the contemporary media and urban constellations.
4. Atlanta Urban Mediamakers Association focusing on animation, film, television and video.
5. ... Copyright © 2005 CitySites Urban Media. All rights reserved. Site design by iconduet. :: Home :: About Us :: Endorsements :: Broadcasts :: Partners
6. Urban Media, 164 West Wycombe Road, High Wycombe, HP12 3AE, United Kingdom, ... Urban Media are the exclusive web designers for, ...
7. Urban Media manages monumental advertising. We rent locations and manage everything from the permits to the production of the giant billboards..
8. Pressemeldungen. Fotoservice. Österreichischer Plakatpreis 2004. Archiv.
Großer Österreichischer Plakatpreis in Platin McDonald's - Baby ...
9. Presents photographs of Melbourne graffiti from the early 80's to the present day.,...
10. Welcome urbanmediadesign offers web consulting, design and development for small businesses, entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations. ...


The uncensored result

Thank you to all contributors, I hope you enjoy reading!

I thought "Urban Media" means a kind of special media used only in Urban
Area. For example, the coverage area of FM radio is narrow and it provides
local (urban area) information to the residents and visitors. Or cable TV,
which also covers narrow area, looks like urban media. In this sense,
Urban Media means similar word as local media. And it may
contain some special purpose/function especially for urban area.
Maybe my impression comes from my experience as an engineer.

"im sinne von medium, strictly electriCity:
an intervening substance, in densely populated areas, through which signals
can travel as a means for communication. also "äther" ... ;)"

I am not very familiar with this concept, however, when I saw "Urban Media",
I thought of media (art, photography, news, advertising, poetry, TV, radio)
focusing on the challenges, complexity and routines, i.e. peculiarities/uniqueness
of large cities. Media activities describing main urban life style characteristics..
e.g. Photography on the plight of people in the slums (favelas) of Rio, or a movie
on this theme such as City of God, Oscar winning documentary „Born into

If you say "urban media" I think about newspapers,graffiti,tv,radio and this
disgusting advertisement and politics everywhere (sorry,too much
emotions:)) ) And sorry my english.

I think it has a huge potential in future
planning strategies not just in urban face but in many
other design genres. The communication ability of
visuals in public spaces will get more important as
their ability of interaction is developed further.
(Bugrahan Sirin)


quick brainstorming:
Urban Media for me is a information media platform related to news-ideas
appealing to the <<urban lifestyles>>.
So the question is... what is an urban lifestyle?
Are there different urban lifestyles according to the "wealth" of it's
inhabitants? To the cultures of origin of the inhabitants? The countries and
"wealth" of the countries? The socio-professional background? ...
.. and if so, what do they have in common?
maybe that's what a urban media is about... connecting the diversity and
richness within cities, between communities, the events cities host, the
buzzing and interaction opportunities ( certain? ) cities offer ...
it's about "movement" , interaction and their various directions,
it tries to show and understand the cities... what makes them specific, what
they have in common, what they don't have in common, the problems they
can create ( pollution, stress, etc. ) and the opportunities they can offer...
urban media is " a space" to see, try to understand, and re-think/foresee
the future of cities and the people that inhabit it. It tries to understand it's
meaning, it's purpose or the purposes we want to create.

Urban media refers to media (old, as in music, paintings, etc. and new,
as in websites, graphic design, multimedia) that incorporates, takes
advantage of, and speak to the physical, social, and cultural
geographies of highly populated and constantly changing city spaces. I
think it can refer to certain stereotypical aspects, but more
appropriately fits actual, constrained, and limited communities. One
interesting thing about the penetration of communications and internet
technologies is that a single instance of Urban Media might actually
refer to a set of virtually connected locations scattered around one or
more specific urban areas (such as all of the wireless parks in NYC).
(Dana Spiegel)

Interesting question. Let me think about it for a while...

Difficult question!
Urban Media is all the media that I see on the street in city's. Sometimes
this can be the billboards, but certain aspects of architecture, art and
design may function in the same way. Of course there are all kinds of
direction boards and boards with traffic and public transport information.
Further I think there is a lot that can be developed with respect to Urban
Media on the streets. It is all quite dull don't you think?
But of course I am not an expert.

Urban Media - places that talk back.
(Andrew Wilson)I don't want to sit too long and start trying to be too clever with
this, but just to write my first thoughts.
my immediate thought is just urban media = media located around the city
But then I begin to think of media as text, image, printed, displayed
or produced using technology of some sort
Visions of newspapers blowing along in gutters if I think too long :)
I will be interested to see what you receive as definitions.

My first association with Urban media will be representation of
urban/city life through different kind of mediums. Because these days,
city life is multicultural and is becoming more intercultural, urban
media is something like a visualization of street life, like graffiti,
hip hop and rap music and fashion, the bling bling, the glorification
of the ghetto life. On the other side urban media is the
representation of the melting pot what is taking place between
different youngsters in big cities, telling their stories. Mainly
commercial, as a marketing strategy but rarely changing into a new
manner of making media, where providing a 'place' (therefore a big role
for webdesign), where this new young-culture can develop.
I hope this will contribute something too your research. (it's not a
very short statement! ). I'm very interested in your counter investment
for your website because i'm working on a research about urban
culture and the development through different kind of mediums and art
(mainly the web and performing arts). To develop a more cultural
definition. Maybe we can help each other?!
(marije brom)

Urban Media appears when you least expect it, as you have by now become
a numb target of the electronic jungle. It is
the one light board that is out, the one mal function or frozen in
time of one letter in the (P)ANSONIC light bridge that reveals a new
perception: ANASONIC ..... the new poetics of space...
(Randy Naylor)

A provocative and timely question. Before reading your email in detail,
particularly the items you found under the Google search, my first
thoughts for "urban media" revolved around project-events like
NodeRunner out of NYC. But more recently in San Diego, we are in
discussions with local architects and developers to establish an
"access grid for the arts" hence my definition for this phrase
has changed.
Based on telecommunications and information technology research
interests at UC San Diego (under the auspices of a new research
institute Calit2), I have been facilitating a new form of university
outreach that is bringing local re/development people to the
table with University researchers, both art and engineering, to
discuss connections between public locations that may also
connect creatively with national and international locations. The
idea is to not just create an auditorium or artists lab in a public
re/development project, but to implement a technical infra-
structure that redefines the nature and extent of public
programming to include real-time sharing and exchange via new
As wireless nodes abound in coffee shops and at select public
agency environments, why not push the urban media movement
into a proactive, multi-user forum.
Practically speaking this effort may potentially connect the UCSD
campus, including CRCA's new media arts wing within the Calit2
institute, to San Diego's new public library situated along the
harbor in downtown, then a few miles away to a major redevelop-
meant project at the former Naval Training Center (now known as
the NTC Promenade, which will include a 28-acre cultural district
with dance and visual artist studios, performance spaces and
public gathering areas.)
So my most current thinking around urban media comes more from
the public infrastructure in support of new media arts technologies
having a profound impact on a conventionally driven urban environment.
Stay tuned. We'll see where we come out a few years from now.
(Carol Hobson)

Urban media:
Display of information not implicit in the structures of the urban
space itself.

Thank you for asking my opinion about what Urban Media is to me. I was
wondering why you are so interested in it.
That's a quick response on a Saturday. Didn't expect that!
My interest is because I'm 'struggling' a bit with the word 'urban'. I'm
working on a project, a research on the relationship
between the city and its 'urban' art, like graffiti, stencils, stickers,
There are a few 'problem' with the term urban. Literally it means something
like: 'where a lot of people live in a self made environment' (there must be
somewhere a better definition, but I'm to lazy at the moment to check
it...). So according to that definition, the term urban art makes no sense.
Another 'problem' is: urban has started to become a fashionable word.
Because it becomes fashionable and popular, the word is often misused and
gets a different value.
So your question what Urban Media means, is not easy to answer, but it's
definitely well worth to argue and discuss about it.

Urban media.
Urban, living areas, places where people live there live
Media, method of mass communication
So if you combine these two you would get the way the living areas
communicate. This can be done in several ways, very clear and open,
graffiti, commercials, etc. but also more hidden: cars with no wheels
on the corner, wood in front of the windows or the opposite, a Ferrari
in the parking, and a gardner finishing the last touches of the perfectly
trimmed trees.
If you look at my web page (that I really need to update again...) it are
often these "backside" things that I find interesting and photograph. To me
this tells me a lot about who those people are what they do and where they
belong. If you see a homeless person in a department store, you know he
does not belong there, just like a gipsy in a brand new sportscar.
So urban media, how the world communicate about it inhabitants, quality,
style etc.

"Urban Media"
I hope that in the future urban media will start to mean digital tools
for urban dwellers to interact with the ever growing hybrid nature of
cities. I hope that these tools will not be only used for commercial
purposes but rather that they would facilitate ways for citizens to take
part in shaping their own urban environments.

Urban media connects urban information users with information providers. It
traditionally used to be the place where caravans landed and stayed. The
world used for this place in many South Asian languages is Sarai. In Turkish
the word Sarai means Palace.

For me, the word "Urban Media" reminds two things.
1)when urban space itself was media
It is said in the Middle Ages most of villages' size were correspond to
the area where the people can listen to the church's bell. In the
beginning of 20 century, cafe was info-exchange place like we do around
blogs now.
2)Using urban space as media
Some architects and urban theorist say that in near future, we no longer
need dense city i.e. Tokyo or London. Digital media will associate our
life and the lifestyle will change. As a result, like we see on LA,
technology finally changes the shape of city.
However, we can not dispose cities, cultures and economics mostly depend
on dense city. So I always think about how we can re-use this old
infrastructure -urban space- by using current technology to make
something interesting.

(Noriyuki Fujimura)

Urban media is present in an urban environment. Urban media is media used by
urban people. Urban implies lots of people = lots of events = fast (mobile)
media. For example: cable paper (regional news on television), free papers
at stations, mobile phone, PDA, wireless access points.
The city has public spaces, so urban media should be visible or accessible
in public spaces. For example: maps, information kiosks, public phones,
ticker signs, open air advertising, art, posters, shop windows, security
camera's, public film projections.
(Danielle Robert)

I would be happy about more contributions!

Mirjam Struppek

interactionfield - urban media research
struppek /at/