This is an interesting article about how people are paying more attention to their smart phones than to what's around them when they are out in public spaces. We already knew that. The immediate effect is a loss of interpersonal contact with people around you and a loss of attention to your immediate surroundings. But what about long-range effects? If people don't attend to their surroundings in public spaces, why care about them? Why support or protest local government making changes to them, such as all of the improvements made to the Uptown Normal area? Why participate in events, such as the Sugar Creek Arts Festival, that take place in them?
I think we're gradually losing a sense of connection with and ownership of our public spaces. This doesn't bode well for the future of those spaces. And if someone creates an "app" that "connects" people to the physical environment when they are out in public spaces, well, that's just silly. Put away the phone and look around you. You don't need an app for that.