“The injustice of infrastructure is not only about lack…Sometimes there is too much infrastructure…Infrastructures reach across time, building uneven relations of the past into the future, cementing their persistence. In colonial and settler colonial contexts, infrastructure is often the means of dispossession, and the material force that implants colonial economies and socialities. Infrastructures thus highlight the issue of competing and overlapping jurisdiction — matters of both time and space.”
More from Deborah Cowen (associate professor of geography at the University of Toronto), via Verso Books
“Platforms offer a kind of generic universality, open to human and non-human users. They generate user identities whether the users want them or not. They link actors, information, events across times and spaces, across scales and temporalities. They also have a distinctive political economy: they exist to the extent that they generate a platform surplus, where the value of the user information for the platform is greater than the cost of providing the platform to those users”
Via McKenzie Wark On Benjamin Bratton’s The Stack for Public Seminar
For No. 43 / Shelf Life of Harvard Design Magazine, Clare Lyster (author of ‘Learning from Logistics: How Networks Change Our Cities’) wrote Storage Flows: Logistics as Urban Choreography.
Wherein she argues
“To fully comprehend contemporary mechanisms of flow, we need to explore the manner in which logistics shrewdly appropriates other external networks and spaces as a means to enhance its supply chain operations. For example, many logistical networks hijack familiar forms of urban infrastructure to further conquer the spatiotemporal gap between supply and demand. Piggybacking on other systems to optimize flow by collapsing supply and distribution into one seamless system has many implications for the city, changing how distribution typologies appear in the urban landscape and thus the landscape itself.”
Note: There are a number of spots where I assume “ow”/”ows” should be read, as a typo, as “flows”…
Also, no surprise that Alan Berger comes up. I immediately thought of his writings on the infrastructural leftover spaces or dross. The spaces/places where “Storage flows” happen. Transit through.
What is different today, in particular is the role of algorithms and digital flows.
Rod Barnett published an essay over at Places Journal. He begins with the observation
“Indigeneity is scarcely mentioned in the field’s seminal texts nor discussed in its conference halls and online forums….My project investigates how indigenous communities are represented (or not) in this process of contemporary American landscape-making.”
He then draws on the work of Brian Davis
“who places the modern practice of landscape architecture within the ‘long, sophisticated tradition of landscape-making in the Americas,’ thus establishing continuity and dissolving the boundaries between us and them, then and now.”
to make the case for transculturation, decolonization and an awareness of the indigenous experience as a continual contact zone, as guiding principles for Designing Indian Country.
On a related note, this recent piece by Annalee Newitz for Ars Technica digs into the medieval city of Cahokia. As I noted elsewhere, the piece led me to recall a great post (also by Brian Davis) from 2011 re: mounds as “precedent for responding to floods.” and a pre-Contact form of indigenous #infrastructuralurbanism.
“as prepared by Parsons, Brinkerhoff, Quade and Douglas in their August 1965 geotechnical report.”
More via, Engineering Geology of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System, 1964-75
“Within the last year there have been 16 so-called fiber cuts in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to the F.B.I., someone or some group has been going through manholes to sever fiber optic cables that supply telecommunications to large sections of the region…It’s something that’s been largely forgotten in the lather over cybersecurity. The threat is not only malicious code flowing through the pipes but also, and perhaps more critically, the pipes themselves”
More via NYT
You can also read more about such “Critical infrastructure” and attempts to make more resilient at the DHS website