Walking with technology: understanding mobility-technology assemblages
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It is difficult to deny that technology–be it listening to music through headphones, engaging with smartphone apps or conversing through hands-free headsets–has become a ubiquitous part of everyday walking practices, influencing daily activities and shaping how these are operationalised. While digital technologies cannot replace conventional interactions with landscapes (e.g. the weather, clothing, street furniture, etc.), the intersections of people, places and technologies can converge in exciting and surprising ways to produce new forms of interrelating with(in) spaces. In this paper, I focus on the digital walking tour as a novel instrument through which to examine how mobility-technology assemblage assists with understanding how engagements with environments might produce various, contrasting assemblages of mobilities, bodies, affects, emotions and placemaking. I argue that participating within hybridised physical/digital spaces affects and is affected by different mobility practices. Through this paper, I propose that mobility-technology assemblage thinking provides new interventions into the ways in which people interact with technology, with each other and with(in) everyday spaces. Hence, while the person–technology interface may be considered a largely individual experience, I posit that the amalgamation of people, places and technologies can, in fact, greatly influence how pedestrian experiences are assembled, transmitted, received and interpreted.
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