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2005 04 03
The Plaza vs the Blackberry
imageReuters news agency reported today that the Vatican used SMS and e-mail technology to alert the world's news agencies of the Pope's death. Phil Stewart, a Reuters reporter goes on to say:

TV spectators across the globe learned of the Pope's death even before the thousands of faithful gathered in prayer below the Pope's window in St. Peter's Square.

Archbishop Leonardo Sandri only informed them minutes later and their reaction -- a long round of applause, an Italian custom -- was captured on television in real time.

The use of the plaza as a forum for communication is replaced by a symbolic plaza - the physical place where people come to share a collective experience. More and more they are brought to those places by real-time, person-to-person communications technologies like SMS. Rather than destroying the plaza these technologies are reconfirming its importance in a civic life.

John Street in Toronto has the potential to be this city's media plaza. The modern media plaza, like its classical predecessors, is not necessarily one space. It is a sequence of spaces, passageways, and events that lead to places of assembly. With its parks, museums, media and cultural outlets John Street has the potential to be a great, modern civic amenity.
[email this story] Posted by Robert Ouellette on 04/03 at 06:28 PM

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