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Planning cybercities


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Planning cybercities

  1. 1. Planning Cybercities? Steve Graham Newcastle University
  2. 2. Siliconia Web site: ICT-Oriented Place Marketing Labels
  3. 3. Local Examples: Newcastle Technopolis
  4. 4. “Silicon Alley” Televillage (Pink Lane)
  5. 5. “Sunderland “Teleport” Doxford Park
  6. 6. Constitutive Power of New Technology in Imagining and Remaking Cities •  Urban planning has long invoked new communications technologies as normative or utopian visions •  E.g. Two modernist utopias from 1930s: Le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City
  7. 7. Now Such Imaginative Work Now Centres on ICTs •  Paradox: distance-transcendence, space-time compression leading to a growing salience of urban place in economic location •  Urban entrepreneurialism incraesingly centres on using material and discursive value of ICTs to try and add value to places in globalized economy •  Place marketing, aggressive supply side inducements, to try and influence flows of investment in context of neoliberal global economy
  8. 8. Embedded Within Stark Geographical Divisions of Labour •  But, defined by stark spatial divisions of labour •  ICT-mediated geographies used to refine such divisions, not overcome them •  Ann Markusen defines “Sticky Places” (high-value added, ‘creative’ and central locations) and “Slippery Space” (peripheral locations where routinised work and labour are located)
  9. 9. Markusen’s “Sticky Places” •  High value-added and creative locations within or near core, global cities •  Excellent transport and telecoms connectivity provided by market and sunk investment •  Minimise risks to major finance, legal, headquarter and media/high tech companies through cutting-edge skills and highly diverse labour markets •  ‘Soft’ social and cultural services and ‘cool’ urban ambience •  Sustain and support continuous innovation and research and development through intense face to face and online contact
  10. 10. Articulations on “World City Network” (Peter Taylor)
  11. 11. Revalorised Urban Cores: Highly Localised Geographies of Dot.Com Activity •  Self sustaining cycles of innovation, speculation, venture capital, investment, migration create boom cities •  Competitive advantage overcomes high costs •  Gentrification and “cappuccino urbanism” leads to social exclusion
  12. 12. Urban ICT Initiatives for “Sticky Places” e.g. “Glocal” logic of Sohonet Network providing extreme broadband services only to core media enclaves in selected global cities
  13. 13. New York’s “Silicon Alley”
  14. 14. San Diego’s “Bandwidth Bay”
  15. 15. New Urban Zones and ‘Teleport’ infrastructures •  Decreasingly relevant as private market supplies intensely competitive property, services and infrastructure •  E.g. Tokyo ‘Teleport Town’ (top) and New York teleport (bottom)
  16. 16. ‘Technopoles’ on Peripheries of Global Cities •  Main high-tech and corporate research and development centres •  Campus style, suburban environments •  Relate very closely with major technology universities •  Highly dualised labour markets: well rewarded technological elites and often invisible support workers
  17. 17. Silicon Valley is Archetype •  But technopole spaces actually develop organically through endogenous research and development by entrepreneurs and small firms •  Can boost dynamics once underway •  But very difficult to engineer or create through planning and public policy alone, especially in peripheral locations
  18. 18. Major national technopole strategies 1970s-1990s in France and Japan •  Sophia Antipolis France) Tskuba Science City (Japan)
  19. 19. UK “Knowledge Corridor” - Oxford-Cambridge
  20. 20. Strategies for “Slippery Space” * Global peripheries in global N and S: Areas of low wealth and/or high un and under employment •  Ruthless cost-based competition for globalizing, routine activities •  Call centres, logistics hubs, free trade zones for manufacturing and assembly •  Supply side inducements widespread: tax breaks, grants, free land, property and infrastructure •  Such investments often intensely mobile. Often not self-sustaining, fragile. and require continuous subsidy
  21. 21. Global ‘Transpark’ Logistics Hubs e.g.s Kentucky and North Carolina
  22. 22. Data Processing, ‘Back Offices’ and Call Centre Parks with ‘Digiports’/ ‘Teleports’ •  Global North and South competing with each other •  Global “off-shoring” going on as mobile call centre investment moves from low cost regions in global north to rapidly growing high-tech cities in India, caribbean, Africa e.g. Bangalore (top), which are moving up the value-added chain
  23. 23. Comprehensive Attempts to Rework National and Urban-Regional Economies •  Especially common in Asia •  Top-down and semi-authoritarian strategies to try and use ambitious urban technology plans to “leap frog” up value added chain from slippery space to sticky space •  Whole new urban centres created with comprehensive inducements to tempt in foreign investment from ‘blue chip’ companies in high tech research and development and innovation •  Malaysia’s Multimedia Supercorridor (MSC) is exemplar
  24. 24. In reality a “slippery space’ masqeurading as “sticky place”
  25. 25. Korean Example: Songdo New Media City, Seoul
  26. 26. A “Ubiquitous City”: A new city plan exploiting comprehensive vision of wireless and remediated urban life
  27. 27. Utopian Urban Design Vision: “Digital Media Street - The World’s First Ubiquitous Boulevard”
  28. 28. Remediation/ Wireless brings discursive Shift in Cybercity Strategies: From fixed and material connectivities to Cities of “Ubiquity” and “Infinity” (as here in Taipei)
  29. 29. New Shifts Towards Augmented Reality Architecture ands Planning
  30. 30. Conclusions and Critique •  New wave of urban entrepreneurial planning where discursive and material power of ICTs are used to add value to, differentiate or revalorise specific places within increasingly globalised and competitive contexts •  Wide range: from simple place-labelling (‘cyber’, ‘silicon’, ‘intelligent’, ‘digital’, ‘E-’ prefixes), through infrastructure supply, to comprehensive urban planning and design strategies symbolising national economic transformation
  31. 31. •  1. Highly problematic. Technological determinist and utopian rhetoric means they often fail spectacularly, even in own terms. •  2. Often use glamour and utopian resonances of ICTs to portray plans as unproblematically beneficial to all. Motors of utopian arrival, renewal, which bring equal benefits to all people and places •  3. Therefore deny politics. Obfuscate erased or negelcted places, excluded people, and alternative possibilities •  4. Extremely costly and often socially regressive: public finances and subsidies go to affluent elites and rich multinationals and infrastructure suppliers •  5. Spatially highly divisive: Often investment concentrates exclusively within increasingly fortified landscapes of techno-elites and is withdrawn from social and public services supporting wider (especially poorer) city •  6. Finally, symbolic power often more important than material. E.g. teleport in Edinburgh, which was nearly built in 1980s, where fake satellite dishes would not actually have been connected to actual telecoms network !