Los Angeles

Is the Digital Age Killing Public Space?

A Zócalo/Getty "Open Art" Event
Moderated by John King, Urban Design & Architecture Critic, The San Francisco Chronicle
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Parking is $10 per car or motorcycle after 5 p.m.

The more time we spend in a virtual world, the more we crave human connection. Yet with every new technology, public space seems to get a little less relevant: The digital encyclopedia marked the beginning of the library’s decline, e-mail helped make the post office obsolete, Amazon is undermining the shopping mall, and Facebook and Twitter have taken care of almost everywhere else. Walk down any street in the Western world, and you’ll find people lost in their smartphones rather than engaging with one another. Are we destined to forego public spaces? Or will we counteract all that screen time by finding new ways and places to come together? After all, social media is what gave us flash mobs and meet-ups, Occupy Wall Street and Tahrir Square. As the Getty Museum presents an exhibition of the Belgian artist James Ensor, Stanford University’s Robert McGinn, technology forecaster Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, and Mia Lehrer + Associates founding principal Mia Lehrer visit Zócalo to discuss whether the Internet is going to replace physical public spaces–or if new technology will change how we design and use parks and plazas, town squares and train stations.

“Open Art” is an arts engagement project of Zócalo Public Square and the Getty.

Books will be available through The Getty.

Photo courtesy of Jay Chilli.