Placelessness describes a state of people and activities that are not confined to fixed places. It directly correlates to digital nomads: people who utilize remote work and personal mobility to avoid restrictions of fixed places in their living. Digital nomads represent a borderless workforce with potentials of growing into a placeless population under future technologies and further public engagements on digital work. My master's thesis (SMArcS Urbanism MIT, Advisor: Prof. Rafi Segal, Reader: Prof. Brent Ryan) takes digital nomads as a stimulus to explore the urban opportunities and challenges brought by placelessness.

The digital-nomad shifts of work-live habits and the placeless urban experience

The dissolution of urban programs and typologies in supporting placeless activities

Tallinn - A Future Urban Ground of Placeless Population

As part of the thesis, I developed a speculative urban design proposal to communicate the future urban impacts of a placeless population in Tallinn based on the city's emerging digital nomad communities and their socio-economic prospects under Estonia's digital nation movements supported by E-Estonia infrastructures. E-Estonia program encourages international tech workers, including digital nomads, to contribute their innovations and workforce into local tech industries through visa benefits with access to a variety of public services. These visions also informs a potential population of placeless people to be added to Tallinn’s future identity. Their flexible forms of residency and work-live-habits under digital connectivity will challenge the existing paradigms of urban life and social structures.

The demonstrative design takes urbanist approaches to accommodate an alternative work-live habits informed by digital nomads while providing social and economic infrastructures to localize the placeless population in public life and social production.