Wednesday, October 15, 2008

related blog

I read this blog tonight ( and thought it was pretty interesting in light of our class. In it, the author engages with the question of what urbanism in the future will look like. The author points to three interrelated urban growth patterns: Dubai's model of a city with no urbanism, developing world informal or slum cities, and American sprawl of the boomburg (or edge city). All three are brought together by an idea of infrastructure that recalls Tarr's idea of the sinews of the city, although in the case of Dubai and the American boomburg, much of this infrastructure is missing. These cities seem to exist as cities with no connectivity, collections of buildings but no urbanism. Developing world urbanism, on the other hand, has too much urbanism but not enough city:

These are not cities in any recognised infrastructural or legislative sense; they are, rather, dense collections of buildings. In contrast to Dubai’s Atari–like desert failure, with its arid combination of over-thought business plans and an absolute lack of content, these super-slums compress far too much content into a radically unplanned space.

It is interesting to think about these cities in light of our current reading of Cities in the Telecommunications Age. We have talked about this in class a little, but it is always helpful to be reminded that there are still cities that are made up of pollution, excrement, and decay, as Mike Davis puts it. It is also interesting to think about how current modes of urbanism differ and move away from the model that Tarr puts forth. How do we account for Dubai, with its massively globalized financial market, and how do we account for developing world urbanism with a lagging physical infrastructure but access to cell phone communications and the internet? There is a huge role for networks and IT connectivity in all of these urban models, and it is interesting to think about the ways in which networks operate differently in different contexts.

Additionally, this post is somewhat interesting:

It basically deals with the idea of authentic vs. inauthentic geographies, mainly in light of presidential politics. The author details the ways in which historic landscapes of small town community are presented as more real than a big city cosmopolitan landscape. Tonight's repeated mentioning of Joe The Plumber should make the idea pretty clear. What is interesting though is that the author references the fact that in the US right now, there are more World of Warcraft players than farmers. I'm curious about authenticity in light of telecommunications, and the ways in which face-to-face communication differs from email or chatrooms in its relation to questions of authenticity.

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