The increasing prevalence of mobile communications technologies has important consequences for urban transportation. The new ability to carry your social life around with you, enabling instant connections regardless of physical location, has the potential to reconfigure how we think about time and mobility, and in turn how we build environments to suit our travel behavior. For example, it appears to be impossible to use smartphones safely while driving, so smartphone users have a motive to seek an alternative mode so that they can make use of their travel time.
Ben Schulman has an interesting take on this in his paper, The Car as Smartphone: Effects on the Built Environment and Sociality, which you can download below. He places the smartphone in a continuity of change in human communications technology, and traces how those technologies have helped to shape our cities.
The built environment then is a reflection of the predominant communication devices being used at given points in time that shape sociality. In other words, we develop an infrastructure necessary to accommodate the needs of our preferred communication tools.
This idea is a larger envelope around the familiar idea that all cities are built around the transportation technologies of the time. Transportation, after all, is one kind of communication tool.
There is a lot of to digest here, but it is well worth a read in order to situate these trends within an academic urbanist frame of reference. My take is that the role of communication is hugely important, but must be understood as an aspect of a broader web of economic and social relationships which together work to produce the space of the city.