The Sentient City Survival Kit

The Sentient City Survival Kit is a design research project that explores the social, cultural and political implications of ubiquitous computing for urban environments. It takes as its method the design, fabrication and presentation of a collection of artifacts, spaces and media for survival in the near-future sentient city.

- edit, video is now back, via YouTube -

As computing leaves the desktop and spills out onto the sidewalks, streets and public spaces of the city, information processing becomes embedded in and distributed throughout the material fabric of everyday urban space. Pervasive/ubiquitous computing evangelists herald a coming age of urban information systems capable of sensing and responding to the events and activities transpiring around them. Imbued with the capacity to remember, correlate and anticipate, this “sentient” city is envisioned as being capable of reflexively monitoring our behavior within it and becoming an active agent in the organization of our daily lives.

The movie above is a work in progress of an intriguing project by Mark Shepard documenting the development of a set of artifacts, spaces and media for survival in the near-future sentient city.

Of note is the view that 'many are likely to protest when they are denied passage through a subway turnstile because the system “senses” that their purchasing habits, mobility patterns and current galvanic skin response (GSR) reading happens to match the profile of a terrorist'. Personally we quite like the idea of a Sentient City, but perhaps that's just us, head over to for more thoughts and views.