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In this paper we examine the role of code (software) in the spatial formation of collective life. Taking the view that human life and coded technology are folded into one another, we theorise space as ontogenesis. Space, we posit, is constantly being bought into being through a process of transduction – the constant making anew of a domain in reiterative and transformative practices - as an incomplete solution to a relational problem. The relational problem we examine is the ongoing encounter between individuals and environment where the solution, to a greater or lesser extent, is code. Code, we posit, is diversely embedded in collectives as coded objects, coded infrastructure, coded processes and coded assemblages. These objects, infrastructure, processes and assemblages possess technicity, that is, unfolding or evolutive power to make things happen; the ability to mediate, supplement, augment, monitor, regulate, operate, facilitate, produce collective life. We contend that when the technicity of code is operationalised it transduces one of three forms of hybrid spatial formations: code/space, coded space and backgrounded coded space. These formations are contingent, relational, extensible and scaleless, often stretched out across networks of greater or shorter length. We demonstrate the coded transduction of space through three vignettes – each a day in the life of three people living in London, UK, tracing the technical mediation of their interactions, transactions and mobilities. We then discuss how code becomes the relational solution to five different classes of problems – domestic living, travelling, working, communicating, and consuming.

binary riot
 binary riot      15.03.2019 - 14:55:06 (modif: 15.03.2019 - 14:55:22) [4K] , level: 1, UP   NEW !!CONTENT CHANGED!!
The work of code in contemporary cities is significant and given current social, economic and technical trends, seems set to expand greatly in the coming decade. This will bring benefits, offering opportunities, facilities and urban services for many and also reduced costs for institutions and companies delivering them. However, it will also bring an expanded range and magnified degree of risks from greater techno-social complexity in managing city functions that become dependent on code.
These code/spaces are a risk because they are imperfectly understood, the software is often poorly engineered, hard to diagnose when it misbehaves and difficult to fix when it fails. The ways that parts of city infrastructure and facilities fail will not only be through observable physical faults, there will be new vulnerabilities resulting from incorrect data or errors and unanticipated conflicts from new or updated software components. As code/spaces become common place we will all have to get used to software errors in many more areas of daily life and learn to cope when the code crashes.

At the level of individual practice, the growth of software will have significant implications as it mediates and regulates more and more everyday activities, like driving. Software can be read critically as threatening to accepted notions of personal privacy, individual autonomy and social equity. For example, in the scenario of dynamically priced insurance rates automatically calculated by software on driving patterns and mandatory road pricing requiring real-time tracking of all journeys. In both cases, software enabled technologies seek to enforce differential access on the basis of certain criteria, usually authorised identity or ability/willingness to pay, and thus ensure that the road system is segmented; those who are entitled have access to the right parts of the system and those who do not are excluded. Of concern to some commentators is that financially based, software-driven ‘social sorting’, works to benefit affluent drivers while penalising the poor and those classified as higher risk, either by denying them access to a section of road or area, forcing them to take more expensive routes in terms of time and distance, or by having to pay higher premiums (‘discrimination-by-postcode’ where poorer areas tend to have high premiums due to higher crime rates). Such sorting thus works to further marginalise and exclude poorer sections of society from essential urban infrastructure. It is therefore essential that urbanists and social scientists should focus attention on describing where code is working in cities, account for how it works and offer explanations of whom it works for.