Hat tip to Adam Greenfield and Mark Shepard for providing the catalyst to explore how non-human users of the city—in this case pigeons—can be used to better understand the urban environment. In their pamphlet #1, "Urban Computing and Its Discontent
," the authors note the work of Beatriz Da Costa and her "Pigeon Blog
" project. Da Costa came up with the idea of strapping wireless air-quality sensing devices to the backs of homing pigeons.
The results from this 2006 experiment illustrate that by shifting our view away from human city dwellers while correspondingly embracing the power of wireless computing devices, we can gather new insights about the city.