BirdGraveyard: An Instagram and Future of our Space Case Study
"Smart" Colonized by App Friendly Companies?
Are our cities, due to the lack of accessible public transport, being colonized by app friendly scooters and bikes cluttering our sidewalks?
While using them can be healthy and fun, they can also lead to some Jackass, even deadly moments. But what about pedestrians and those with their own skateboards, scooters and other means of transportation? How about those who need a wheelchair? Are they being impeded in what was formerly public space turned into free parking for these "smart personal mobility" modes of transportation for "smart cities and universities"?
A Genius Company or Genius Instagram Account?
Who does the city and public space belong to? Of all the head scratching, the collective BirdGraveyard Instagram account seems to be the best response. It's got all sorts of entertaining videos and pictures of the Santa Monica produced Bird scooter being misused, destroyed, pushed away, set on fire, and remixed into memorable trash mashup videos.
Bird was named one of Time Magazine's 50 Genius Companies in 2018, and one of the most sought-after startups in the United States, but that won't stop old dog walkers to push a few out of the way for Instagram fame.
Below a YouTube example which hasn't had much views, but speaks to the same anger.
Will Silicon Valley also Take Our Public Space?
It's people who still use the streets, who even live on the streets, who seem the most offended, and rightly so, because again, who does the city belong to? While the dockless share company scooters and bikes get to fill up the streets, people are being pushed away from them, criminalized for just existing in public space.
But sidewalks are the last refuge for some, and shouldn't they be protected as such? Sadly it seems Silicon Valley is winning this battle, and as we gave up our privacy with smart phones and smart speakers, so are we now giving up our public space in this sharing illusion?