Mobility as a Reality Concept The key features that will define future activity spaces: Mobility visions can no longer be separated into ‘physical trips’ and ‘virtual trips’ on the internet and other communication media. The division between the two is increasingly becoming blurred and we need to understand the whole picture if we are to assess mobility futures. • Personalised and customised transport: The emergence of more complex travel patterns – inspired by new lifestyles and new mobility mind-sets – emphasise more personalised and customised requirements. Individuals today and in the future will live in ‘multiple spaces’, incorporating, physical, electronic and virtual spaces – which will create numerous new socio-economic opportunities and challenges. Socially, the new virtual worlds represent the frontier of social media and social computing. In this context, every activity has a virtual substitute.• A new sense of place: Design research now builds a conceptual framework for new media urbanism and a concern for the ambient character of spaces. For perception of space to be meaningful, there is the need for people to identify with their surroundings – an awareness of a ‘sense of place’. New technologies have created new layers in the urban environment. • New relationships between activities and locations: Mobile communications disconnect activities from specific locations, leading to increased flexibility in the timing and location of activities: mobility patterns are therefore less structured and less predictable. This has made it even more difficult to assess the mobility decision-making processes. • New concept of accessibility: The internet has dramatically changed our perceptions of accessibility by weakening the traditionally strong links between activity, distance, place and time – this in turn is influencing the structure of our cities and regions. The past decade has witnessed rapid communication developments, which have had major social impacts. At the same time, inter-relationships between virtual mobility and physical mobility have been mediated by new technologies and perceptions of space and alternative travel options. Based on these shifts, the concept of New Activity Spaces developed, and is based on two main pillars: 1) physical mobility, traditional activity space, and personal attributes; and 2) virtual mobility, cultural aspects, and ICT. Personal Attributes: the use of ICT accelerated the shift from social groups that were defined through a specific location to individually-based social networks. This allows mobile and high-speed telecom networks to be more personalised, with “person-to-person” social ties. Many innovative new mobility services have been developed such as: Waze, Uber, Moovit, GetTaxi, Where-is-Bus and others. All are combinations of smartphone/GPS technology, which allow for more complex travel demand patterns and strong links between lifestyles, along with transport services tailored to personal needs. Activity Space: a part of the environment which a traveller uses to facilitate their activities (based on the mental map of the traveller). The mental map comprises both those locations in which a traveller has a personal experience (activity space), as well as those in which the traveller has second hand experiences through family, friends, books, films or other media (the knowledge space). The influence of the social network on activity travel patterns is a continuous dynamic process as the social network of a person is not a static structure. The main driver of the size of the activity space is the overall number of unique locations visited by the traveller. Physical Mobility: travel behaviour has traditionally dealt with the physical movement of people outside their reference location (usually home) to perform diverse activities. The literature on travel behaviour in the previous decades reflects a wider definition, conforming to a new notion of ‘mobility’ which includes not only the physical mobility of people but also the physical movement of objects, and the imaginative and virtual travel of people using various telecommunication means. Virtual mobility, cultural aspects, and ICT ICT and transport: the rapid developments in information technology and data processing have inspired a growing interest in the interactions between telecommunications and transportation. The Internet has become an integral part of daily life for many in modern industrialised societies. ICT has generated a shift from social groups to individually based social networks. Patterns of mobility have become less structured and thus less predictable. This shift has introduced increasing complexity in the travel-related decision processes and practices. Cultural Aspects: places are the expression of cultures, and open spaces in urban areas can get marked as gendered or elite, depending on the demographic perceived to make most use of this space. When we think about mobility in the environment in social or cultural terms, a different set of topics and issues come into view, such as migration or cultural identity. Mobile information technologies are tools that serve to structure the spaces through the way they, and the people who operate them, move. The cultural dimension of new media spaces transfers mapping of diverse actors and networks from the real world to the virtual space. This is a step of understanding the virtual space; it allows transforming virtual spaces into physical place for unravelling social relations, histories, and attitudes. irtual Mobility: new technologies create virtual spaces, which are (1) a reproduction of real space, and (2) an abstract space that exists in our mind. Virtual mobility is mobility facilitated by networked computers. Virtual environments exist within computers. Individuals today and in the future will live in ‘multiple spaces’, incorporating, physical, electronic and virtual spaces – which will create numerous new socio-economic opportunities and challenges. Socially, the new virtual worlds represent the frontier of social media and social computing. In this context, every activity has a virtual substitute. Social networks and mental maps The main components that connect these two pillars and the inter-relation between them are: Social Networks and Mental Maps. Social Networks: social networks have become less coherent and have less spatial definition. Currently, people have more active social contacts than in the past; requiring more time for communication and these contacts transverse many social networks, which the technology will provide for. The fast adoption of mobile communication technologies has led to fundamental changes in the spatial structure of connectivity and social networks, shifting it from place-to-place connectivity to person-to-person connectivity. The appearance of virtual social networks, such as Facebook, and the changes of working patterns (home/ hub based, shorter working week days) have resulted in intertwining of leisure activities with other daily routines. All of the above has an impact on travel behaviour and mobility within the urban space. Mental maps: this concept is one of the first studies that connected urban settings with human action, and can build a bridge between the virtual world and the physical world. The perception of the mental maps we create in our mind to assist us capture the virtual data and space together with our personal needs, and becomes important in order to be mobile in the physical world. Conclusion What happens between buildings matters more than it once did – design research now builds a conceptual framework for new media urbanism and a concern for the ambient character of spaces. For perception of space to be meaningful, there is the need for people to identify with their surroundings – an awareness or ‘sense of place’. New technologies have created new layers in the urban environment. The rapid development of new technologies leads to a change in the way we read and understand the physical environment. Maps become the main interface for accessing data over the Internet, and become important when dealing with virtual data. Mental maps assist in understanding the virtual mobility concept, influence a person’s awareness and knowledge of the urban space, and influence our mind-sets. Mental maps have major influence on our way-finding and orientation in space, and the way we navigate ourselves in physical space moving through the urban environment. Therefore, for developing efficient orientation and mobility skills in space, there is a need for mental mapping of the space. All of the above leads to understanding New Activity Spaces and how they influence our mind-sets and the way we make our mobility decisions. The above raises some key questions that should be considered by planning and policy authorities; How do we need to adjust our travel-decision models? How do we need to adjust our transport and land-use planning strategies? What are the implications for the substitution (or complementarity) of physical trips by virtual trips?