mattern-1-dashboard-1020x703My latest column for Places was published yesterday. Rob Kitchin — who had nice things to say about my earlier column, “Interfacing Urban Intelligence” — kindly invited me to write about “urban dashboards” for Understanding Spatial Media, a forthcoming collection he’s editing with Tracey P. Lauriault and Matthew W. Wilson. I was grateful that Rob and his colleagues allowed me to publish a longer version of that piece in Places — before it appears in the book. “Mission Control: A History of the Urban Dashboards” traces the history of the data dashboard back through the Bloomberg terminal, the control room, the airplane cockpit, the car dashboard, and other optical mechanisms that afford a macro-scale view of urban operations. My amazing research assistant Steve Taylor dug up a lot of tremendously useful historical texts on car design, cockpit design, and the evolution of related fields of engineering — so I owe him a great debt of gratitude.

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