Our Future: A Street Network Layer

We all have a private and street life. Although they interact, these two sections of our lives remain separate. The primary distinction between the two is that our private life remains behind closed doors, while our street life is shared with the community. 

The current methods we use to navigate our street life right now is limited. We primarily rely on tools such as word of mouth, posters, flyers, etc. These tools leave much room for improvement. None of them allow us to find the people we want to meet, nor does it make it easy for people seeking to find us. Is there a better way?

Imagine having the ability to broadcast to those around that you’re in the mood to socialize? Imagine walking the streets and suddenly getting a notification from your phone saying that you just crossed path with someone that is also looking for a running partner? Imagine sitting on the train and seeing who around you belongs to the same community as you do? I call this theoretical network a Street Network Layer.

This information layer will be accessible everywhere. Your phone, your computer, billboards, even your fancy AR glasses. This network will augment your awareness of what is happening around you. Since the success of an organism is dependent on knowledge of its surrounding, this will greatly enhance your life.

The street network does more than provide you with the public persona of those around you, it connects you to the social hive itself. Without this network, we are just atomized individuals strolling aimlessly in the concrete jungle. Although technology has disturbed our connectedness with the environment, we can use the same tool to reconnect to our surrounding.

Some may protest against this network. There will be claims of big brother surveillance, privacy invasion, and all the usual dance that new breakthroughs often cause. My remark to those people is the data is provided by individuals themselves. People choose what to disclose based on their needs from and to the community.

So when will this network be accessible to us all? I am no seer by any means, but I predict that it will exist within this next decade. The precursor elements for this network are already there. In the meantime, you may have to settle with using CityXcape to meet people spontaneously in the urban jungle.

We are the Streets!

James AllanUrban Life