September 29, 2010

Modelling Social Architecture, Network Topologies and The City

It is important, then, to disaggregate the social make-up of cities, so that we can begin to trace the positions of different groups within the emerging urban social architecture of cyberspace (see Castells 1996b: 371). Three broad groups, we would argue, are likely to emerge here. First, elite groups seem likely to be the ‘information users’ (Dordick et al. 1988) experiencing the full benefits of global, interactive telematics systems like the Internet. There is substantial evidence that a new ‘transnational corporate class’ is emerging which is the primary agent of operating the global economy, and which relies on intense mobility and access to interactive global computer networks on a continuous basis to ‘command space’ (Sklair 1991:62–71). Friedmann (1995) argues that the emergence of such groups in western cities needs to be seen as an integral element within a worldwide shift towards the emergence of global spaces of capital accumulation, dominated by transnational corporations (TNCs) and their associated social elites. This transnational elite group consists of "those who are both doing the moving and the communicating and who are in some way in a position of control in relation to it…. These are the groups who are really, in a sense, in charge of time- space compression, who can effectively use it and turn it to their advantage." (Massey 1993:61)

September 20, 2010

Between Liberalism and Positivism

TWU7HSQE2YCT Our current global situation is different, and yet is in essential continuity with the circumstances in which this book was written. Today, neo-liberalism has further extended its sway, but has now begun to mutate into a new mode of political tyranny. (For this reason, in response to the banalities of certain of my politically liberal critics, I simply offer a reading of the current daily newspapers in my defence.)

September 16, 2010

Cyberspace as The New Urban Public Realm

Whilst the nature of the public realm of cities clearly varies across the world, we do believe that general forces exist towards urban fragmentation in which the traditional notion of a universal public realm becomes increasingly problematic. Such a context has encouraged a wide range of debates to emerge surrounding the potential of digital computer networks (or ‘telematics’) for supporting new types of public social and cultural exchange. Not surprisingly, such debates increasingly interconnect with those on the urban public realm.