Pullman needs an app. For those who don’t know much about apps, they are digital application that operate between the cloud and the mobile devices in your hand or on your desk. You may know them by the rounded boxes on your screen, each associated with an organization or a service you deem important to the seamless functioning of your life. There seems to be an app for everything today — rideshare, health, courting and so much more, each marked by a cute symbol reflecting the purpose and intent of the entity on the other side.

Apps are less real things in themselves and more interfaces between us and the world of data out there, hidden in some “anonymous shed on a mountain” as one author put it. At face value they are the antithesis of architecture, a true enemy of physical environments, getting us where we wish to go and obtaining what we want independent of streets and sidewalks. Architects should hate them. But look deeper and we can see that they can work in lockstep with the concrete places, giving rise to information about events that could double the purpose of buildings.

A city is a buzzing beehive of public activities. There is usually something happening somewhere across town that is of wide interest, even in a small town such as Pullman — a lecture, an exhibit, a gender-awareness workshop or what have you. And yet unless brought to light it will stay underutilized and unappreciated.