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id cdc2008_301
authors Herron, Jock
year 2008
title Shaping the Global City: The Digital Culture of Markets, Norbert Wiener and the Musings of Archigram
source First International Conference on Critical Digital: What Matters(s)? - 18-19 April 2008, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge (USA), pp. 301-308
summary The contemporary “built environment” as conceived by designers – be it actual or virtual; be it architecture, landscape, industrial products or, more purely, art – is increasingly generated using powerful computational tools that are shaping the culture of the design professions, so much so that the phrase “digital culture” aptly applies. Designers are rightly inclined to believe that the emerging contemporary landscape – especially in thriving global cities like New York, London and Tokyo – has recently been and will continue to be shaped in important ways by digital design. That will surely be the case. However, design does not exist in a material vacuum. Someone pays for it. This essay argues that the primary shaper of global cities today is another “digital culture”, one defined by the confluence of professions and institutions that constitute our global financial markets. The essay explores the common origins of these two cultures – design and finance; the prescient insights of Archigram into the cybernetic future of cities; the spatial implications of nomadic “digitized” capital and the hazards of desensitizing – in many ways, dematerializing – the professional practices of design and finance. The purpose of the essay is not to establish primacy of one over the other. Especially in the case of urban design, they are interdependent. The purpose is to explore the connection.
email jherron@gsd.harvard.edu
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