Cybercity

a reading list: exploring theory and practice

Embracing the so called ‘cybercity’ as a specific unit of analysis, my second doctoral exam reading list will explore how processes of education and citizen participation are transmuted by the cybercity and how these transmuted processes in turn produce and reproduce the cybercity. In order for this exploration to begin clarification must first be achieved in regards what the “cybercity” is. Thus understanding the cybercity as both a physical and metaphysical construction is the objective of the first topic: “The Cybercity.”

The first subtopic (1.1) of “The Cybercity” is titled “identifying the cybercity” and focuses on understanding the cyborgization of the city as well as shaping a coherent definition of the cybercity. The second subtopic (1.2) is titled “identity and the cybercity” and explores what a collective cyber-urban identity might look like and how it is developed. The final subtopic (1.3) is titled “governance and the cybercity” and focuses on understanding the modes of governance which do (or could) assist in producing/reproducing the cybercity.

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Exploring the link between the processes of democracy and education as well as understanding the mutual shaping of each process and the cybercity is the objective of the second topic: “Democracy and Education in the Cybercity.” The first subtopic (2.1) of “Democracy and Education in the Cybercity” is titled “education and democracy” and focuses generally on exploring the link between education and democracy particularly in regards to the Dewey-Lippmann debate. The second subtopic (2.2) is titled “citizen participation and the cybercity” and explores how the process of citizen participation is transmuted by the cybercity and how such a process produces/reproduces the cybercity. The third subtopic (2.3) is titled “education, development and the cybercity” and explores how the processes of education and development are transmuted by the cybercity and how such processes produce/reproduce the cybercity.

You can view my reading list by clicking here.

Silicon Spaces and the city of “Half.com”

This post has been imported from the NML Research Blog…

On the flight to Oregon I read Michael Indegaard’s Silicon Alley: the Rise and Fall of a New Media District. “Silicon Alley” mostly runs along Broadway from the Flatiron to the Financial District (see map below). Indegaard makes two important points in his book: 1) that the backers of these ‘new’ media companies were hardly new – realestate interests and wallstreet venture capitalists. And 2) how the physical location of ‘dot.com’ companies shaped them – and visa versa. Rather than minimize the importance of place, the new media companies tended to locate themselves within ‘new media districts’ – drawing their resources from and providing content for the local (physical) industry.

NYC has Silicon Alley; Boston has the Cyber District (and the state of MA has invested money in a PR campaign to re-brand the state as the “.commonwealth” – emphasis on the ‘dot’); San Fransisco has Multimedia Gulch; LA and San Diego share the Digital Coast & Detroit has Automation Alley. And of course there is Silicon Valley…

After whitewater rafting in Hell’s Canyon Oregon, some friends and I decided to stop for dinner in the city of Halfway Oregon. The city, with a little more than 300 residents, sounded familar but I couldn’t figure out why – until Michael (my partner, not the author) informed me that Halfway, in a deal with Half.com (a Philadelphia based internet company), was the city that changed its name to Half.com.

Yes its true… Halfway changed its name to Half.com in 2000 for 1 year for a reported $73,000 and computers for their schools. The “World’s First Internet City” apparently returned to its gold-rush-roots and saw the name change as a much needed boast to their tourism and economy. After the deal was made the town used their new riches and the riches they expected to make in the future, due to their new found ‘fame,’ to build a new Fairground. Needless to say, the town’s fame didn’t last very long and their contract with Half.com was not renewed – leaving Halfway with no way to pay for their $400,000 Fairground. As one member of the Halfway community put it (according to AP) “Apparently, they were counting their chickens before they were hatched.” Meanwhile, after literally ‘putting itself on the map’ Half.com (the company) was sold to eBay for $300m.

Reflecting on the city of Half.com and other silicon spaces that populate the country, I wonder what effect being in NYC has on the new media we are all making and what effect our new media creations will have on NYC and other places?

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