Adam Greenfield's talk at dconstruct was interesting because he was talking about a lot of things that I've been thinking about generally. His talk was about the networked city, where objects talk to each other.
One point he made was that 'urban savoir faire' - the ability to be a 'power user' of the city because of specialist knowledge gained by discovery - is under threat from search. I think this could be a good thing because it makes good local businesses easier to find, and therefore more profitable, less likely to close. There is a part of me that doesn't want these hidden finds to become busier, but if this is what is needed to save them from the inexorable march of homogenity, then I'm all for it.
And those that still seek the satisfying feeling that discovery brings can just opt out of 'search urbanism' by turning off their phone. When we were in Moscow, I forced Jas to go on a pilgrimage of all the spots in the Master and Margarita, and we chanced upon loads of cool boutiques. When I worked in Adidas Originals, I remember them saying they purposely put the shops off the beaten track to make the shoppers feel like they'd discovered them. Actually the whole merchandising idea was built around some weird flea market idea, but ended up looking like a clinical interrogation room (those lights were bright!).
Photo by Henry, hope he doesn't mind me using it
You know by now how much I love buzzwords (ugh, trends what have you done to me?!) and so I obviously lapped up 'wayshowing' (although it maybe doesn't top 'dimensional synesthesia' by Ben Cerveny). If Wayfinding is about us looking up things digitally, wayshowing is about digital showing us the way. The Microsoft concept video that August de los Reyes showed us what that might look like, with our tablet/phone/mental thing guiding us through life. While all this stuff does make our lives easier, it also robs us of the skills to survive alone, but more importantly trains us not to enjoy discovery.