Back in Feb, Shannon Mattern argued that A City Is Not a Computer. The essay, in part a reaction to Y Combinator’s move last year into urbanism, problematizes ‘smart cities’ and tech’s Californian Ideology.
To wit –
“Were he alive today, Mumford would reject the creeping notion that the city is simply the internet writ large. He would remind us that the processes of city-making are more complicated than writing parameters for rapid spatial optimization. He would inject history and happenstance. The city is not a computer. This seems an obvious truth, but it is being challenged now (again) by technologists (and political actors) who speak as if they could reduce urban planning to algorithms.
Further, references to “nonsemantic information“, “the longue duré“, “geologic insight” and “urban epistemologies”.
“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
“A deep map goes beyond simple landscape/history-based topographical writing – to include and interweave autobiography, archeology, stories, memories, folklore, traces, reportage, weather, interviews, natural history, science, and intuition. In its best form, the resulting work arrives at a subtle, multi-layered and “deep” map of a small area of the earth.”
As popularised by the work of author William Least Heat-Moon. More at Wikipedia
- Who will be mapping, why and for what purpose?
- Does the group have common interests, values or desires?
- Is there a pre-decided theme, or will it be worked out as part of the process?
- Who and what will be invited and included, or perhaps implicitly excluded, and on what grounds?
- Is the space physically accessible to everyone who might attend, and can childcare be included if necessary?
- Are there any formal or informal hierarchies in the space, and how might these be addressed?
- Does the process itself produce any emotions or affects? Is it psychologically transformative?
- Who is the intended audience of the map?
- What will be mapped and why is this important?
- What materials or technology will be used?
- What will be made visible, or hidden, and why?
- What will be drawn, in what style, what colours?
- Are there any practical considerations for the map’s intended use; e.g. should it be waterproof or capable of duplication?
The Life of the Map
- How will the map continue its life outside this space?
- How might the map function as a tool? Does it have any practical use?
- Who will be able to access, or might be excluded from using it, and how will it be used?
- What kind of knowledge is produced?
- Might the map trigger other cycles of learning/critique/mapping elsewhere?
- What are the political/ethical/social implications of these decisions?
- What changes or desires might the map bring into the world?
via Rhiannon Firth in The Occupied Times of London, regarding Critical Cartography…
“The forms that need to come to light are the lived contours of the security state — the moving edges, vectors, and territories that have an everyday presence…What elements of the security architecture could never be summarized on a powerpoint slide? For the security state is not only a scalar leviathan—that which would never be domesticable anyway, even if Congress did put its little minds to it. It is a series of relationships”
In light of recent news re: NSA and Snowden’s leaks, Demilit argues for the mapping of the “dark matter” of the NSA + security apparatus…
Over at Data Pointed Stephen Von Worley’s mapped the vulnerability of major U.S. cities to climate change and sea level rise. He did this by combining 2010 Census and USGS data to show where people live and the height of the land underneath them.
For NYC and nine other coastal metros, including Boston (image below), Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
credit: Stephen Von Worley