Modern cities are increasingly smart. Or rather that is the current narrative among those responsible for planning and governing urban space. Transforming into a “smart city” has become a common aim written in development strategies and supported by national institutions. And even if we do not necessarily buy into the smart city hype it is hard not to see the pervasiveness of the digital technologies, logics, aesthetics and discourses of the smart city in contemporary discourses on cities. As city dwellers we increasingly interact with urban space through the layers of digital code – by renting city bike with a mobile app, using electronic tickets in public transport or scanning QR codes left by a graffiti artist or urban activist.

Software can be seen as the product of social processes and as such have the potential not only to augment existing spaces and places but also to produce them. We follow the Kitchin and Dodge (2011) proposal that code (any set of instructions in computer programming language) bring space/place into existence in the continuous process of transduction. This result in the formation of not only coded space with layers of code enhancing and changing its shape but also code/space that is exclusively dependent on the proper functioning of software. We will study both the effects that software has on space and the social processes that shaped the creation of code by investigating the process of software development.

In this project we focus on Augmented Reality (AR) technology as it increasingly pervasive and provides a most direct link between virtual and real spaces. We want to capitalize on the fact that many major software platforms announced that they will introduce AR functions into their application - for example Google Street View will be available with AR based directions. By using an ethnographic approach, we aim to understand the processes of AR development in order to understand the effects of the use of AR applications in urban spaces and in placemaking processes and the phenomenal experience of urban space.