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What is the nature of data driven tools for digitally augmented urban environments? A paper presented at the IEEE International Smart Cities Conference addresses issues related to tool theory for the new breed of tools based on data streams generated by digital systems in urban environments. To get a better understanding of the nature of these tools I propose a viewpoint that brings together three established tool theories that approach the topic from different angles. An example, based on urban energy systems data, serves to illustrate the conceptual framing of data driven tools at the intersection of the discussed theories. By bringing together the views on tools as ‘extension of man’, ‘virtualization of action’, and as ‘memory of social activity’ I invite designers and developers to investigate the nature of data driven tools afforded by the increasing pervasiveness of networked digital technologies in urban environments.

Kloeckl, K. (2015). Tool theory and the urban data medium: Data driven visual tools for urban energy. Proceedings from IEEE International Smart Cities Conference, Guadalajara, Mexico. [link]