Information and communication technologies are said to be transforming urban life dramatically and bringing about rapid economic and cultural globalization. This book explores the many fascinating and urgent issues involved by relating advanced theoretical debates to practical matters of communication with cultural policy. It maps out a range of ‘optimistic’ and ‘pessimistic’ scenarios with special regard to various forms of inequality, particularly class, gender and geo-political inequalities. The sheer pace of change is difficult to track yet the expert contributors to this volume all offer insights and essential guidance to what is going on. There are chapters on urban planning, virtual cities and actual cities, economic and political policy, and critical social analysis of current trends that are of momentous consequence.
The book concludes that neither technological determinism nor economic determinism satisfactorily account for information and communication technologies and urban development. Instead, it is necessary to bring together a number of differently informing approaches, cultural, economic, political and technological, to make sense of a field of dynamic and contradictory forces.
Chapter 2: Foreclosing on the City? The Bad Idea of Virtual Urbanism
Foreclosing on the City? The Bad Idea of Virtual Urbanism
In the following discussion, I am concerned with how it is that new information and communications technologies, especially in the form of the so-called information highway, have come to be linked to amelioristic social visions. More particularly, what interests me is their association with ideas and ideals about the future of the city (one might almost think that the urban question was coming to be thought of as a technological one). Why and what, I shall ask, is the ‘virtual city’? And how should we consider the significance of this technological vision of urbanity?
The first thing is to look at how the idea of virtual urbanity ...