Jack Schofield, writing about Smart Places in Guardian Online, suggests that 'intelligent environments' could be the next big thing. He offers a round up of experimental projects using smart phones and other devices to connect us with content 'attached' to buildings and street furniture. This won't be just tourist info, ads and menus from the restaurants you are passing, but - for example - current and historical story threads woven by the Urban Tapestries project in Bloomsbury, London. Technology could enrich your sense of place.
Jack's piece reminded me that Howard Rheingold, writing recently in The Feature, wondered Does Mobile Telephony Disconnect People from City Life?. NY Times art and architecture critic Paul Goldberger, bemoaned "Disconnected Urbanism" in a recent issue of Metropolis, and Howard mused "Who would dispute that the Montparnasse of even ten years ago is a different place today, in part because more and more of the boulevardiers are in SMS or MP3 land or talking to someone whose body is elsewhere? I'm not as convinced as Goldberger that this represents an unalloyed tragedy, an irreversible breakdown of civilized norms. Don't we change our norms all the time?"
As usual, I expect it will do one thing for some people, and another thing for other people... depending on personality type, communication preferences, enthusiasm for technology and so on. It's not just location, or device - but people, place, technology.