Advertisement

IT as Process and Globalization as Outcome

  • Michel S. Laguerre

Abstract

On a sunny midday spring Sunday in 2000, accompanied by a research assistant who spent five years working for a dot-com firm while still attending college in Southern California, I met at a restaurant in downtown Berkeley with a postgraduate engineer and computer programmer who works for a major Silicon Valley telecommunications company. I asked him to tell us what the concept of the digital city evokes for him before we began a focused conversation on his expertise and work practices that would allow me to understand an aspect of the digital infrastructure and transformation of the American metropolis.

So, you ask me what I would expect when I hear the title Digital City. I would expect two things immediately. I would expect it to cover the virtual city aspect of things, the virtual community, sort of thing where it is not a physical thing. You are not talking about any real community, but about the digital city. If you can imagine all of these people that are on chat, e-mail, and all these things. For instance, at Yahoo, we are trying to make it a community. You sign up for Yahoo and you get your e-mail, chat, and you can use these games, and calendar. You have this community of people on-line that spans someone in China, the United States, another person in Egypt, or whatever, brought together into this community. That’s one aspect I would think of … sort of this aspect of bringing people together into this digital community as opposed to a real community with neighbors. Another thing that comes to mind is the city type of San Francisco. As San Francisco becomes digital, as things become more and more computerized, what does that do to the city, what does that make it become, what does that do to people in real communities? How do they live and how they deal with life, neighbors, and maybe the interaction of the two? Does having the digital city in the sense of the digital community, does that change people’s expectations of a real city and does that change the way they deal with the real city, their real neighbors, and their real life? For the past three years, it has been the only time where it has been possible to have a lot of friends on-line and never meet them in person. They might not even know where they live or even their real name. It could be Jon@Yahoo. They won’t even know if the real name is Jonathan or if that is just an alias. How do they see their friendships? Do they consider their friends on-line as good as friends as other people? Are their friendships different? I know a lot of people that do chat. They can say things on-line and be a different person off-line. Even down to the fact that you can be three different people with three different names and no one could know that all those aliases are all you. Do people have different friendships on-line, or are they the same? Are they just extending the same sort of things to other places? That’s what comes to mind. That’s kind of a city making things easier to do. You do not have to stand in line at the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles]. You might go into the ability to do things like that on-line and how it makes things easier. (Male engineer working at Yahoo)

Keywords

Human Agency Global Network Real Community Transnational Network Virtual City 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Michel S. Laguerre, The Informal City. Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Robin Mansell and W. Edward Steinmueller, Mobilizing the In formation Society: Strategies for Growth and Opportunity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 11.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Tarik A. Fathy, Telecity: Information Technology and its Impact on City Form. New York: Praeger, 1991.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    M. Christine Boyer, Cyber Cities: Visual Perception in the Age of Electronic Communication. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996, p. 18.Google Scholar
  6. 17.
    Stephen Graham, Towards Urban Cyberspace Planning: Grounding the Global Through Urban Telematics Policy and Planning. In Technocities edited by John Downey and Jim McGuigan. London: Sage, 1999, p. 21.Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    Jim McGuigan, Introduction. In Technocities edited by John Downey and Jim McGuigan. London: Sage, 1999, p. 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 19.
    James Martin, The Wired Society. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1978, p. 193.Google Scholar
  9. 20.
    Simon Bell, Technocities and Development: Images of Inferno and Utopia. In Technocities edited by John Downey and Jim McGuigan. London: Sage, 1999, p. 166.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    M. Batty, The Computable City. In Proceedings: Fourth International Conference on Computers in Urban Planning and Urban Management edited by R. Wyatt and H. Hossein. University of Melbourne, Australia, 11–14 July 1995, pp. 1–18.Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    Mitchell L. Moss, Telecommunications and the Economic Development of Cities. In Wired Cities: Shaping the Future of Communications edited by William Dutton, Jay Blumler and Kenneth Kraemer. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1987, p. 144.Google Scholar
  12. 24.
    James Martin, The Wired Society. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1978, p. 193.Google Scholar
  13. 25.
    For an early discussion on the “wired cities” theme, see Gerhard J. Hanneman, “The New Communications Media: Their Impact and Potential.” In Communication and Behavior edited by Gerhard J. Hanneman and William J. McEwen. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1975, pp. 304–330.Google Scholar
  14. 27.
    John Howkins, Putting Wires in their Social Place. In Wired Cities edited by William Dutton et al. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1987, p. 428.Google Scholar
  15. 28.
    Glenn E. Wiggins, Future Cities: Cities of the Information Society and Developing Countries, pp. 1–15. In Documentation on The Virtual City. Selected from Presentations at the International Making Cities Livable Conferences. Carmel, California: IMCL Council, 1996.Google Scholar
  16. 30.
    Robert McDowell and William Simon, Driving Digital: Microsoft and Its Customers Speak About Thriving in the E-Business Era. New York: HarperBusiness, 2001, p. 44.Google Scholar
  17. 31.
    Susan J. Winter and S. Lynne Taylor, The Role of Information Technology in the Transformation of Work: A Comparison of Post-Industrial, Industrial, and Proto-Industrial Organization. In Information Technology and Organizational Transformation: History, Rhetoric, and Practice edited by JoAnne Yates and John Maanen. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2001, p. 19.Google Scholar
  18. 33.
    JoAnne Yates and John Maanen (eds), Information Technology and Organizational Transformation: History, Rhetoric, and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2001, p. xiv.Google Scholar
  19. 34.
    Jeffrey James, Globalization, Information Technology and Development. Basing-stoke: Macmillan Press, 1999, p. 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 36.
    On the enabling rather than determining role of technology, see also H. Ernest and C. Jaeger (eds), Information Society and Spatial Structure. New York: Belhaven Press, 1989, p. xi.Google Scholar
  21. 37.
    Jan Pronk, Globalization: A Developmental Approach. In Global Futures: Shaping Globalization edited by Jan Nederveen Pieterse. London: Zed Books, 2000, p. 41.Google Scholar
  22. 38.
    Y. Masuda, East and West Dialogue and the Global Information Society. School of Social and International Studies Working papers, no. 5. Sunderland, UK: University of Sunderland, 1996.Google Scholar
  23. 40.
    D. Morley and K. Robins, Spaces of Identity: Global Media, Electronic Landscapes and Cultural Boundaries. London: Routledge, 1995, p. 116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 42.
    Ralph Lee Smith, The Wired Nation: Cable TV; The Electronic Communications Highway. New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1972.Google Scholar
  25. 43.
    James Martin, The Wired Society. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1978.Google Scholar
  26. 44.
    Starr Roxanne Hiltz and Murray Turoff, The Network Nation. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  27. 45.
    Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996.Google Scholar
  28. 46.
    Geoff Simons, Eco-Computer: The Impact of Global Intelligence. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 1987, p. 124.Google Scholar
  29. 47.
    William Sims Bainbridge, Information Infrastructure Issues in the Social Sciences. STI (Science, Technology, Industry) 24, 1999, p. 124.Google Scholar
  30. 48.
    For an elaborate discussion of the electronic infrastructure of the American city, see Frederick Williams, The New Telecommunications: In frastructure for the Information Age. New York: Free Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  31. 49.
    JoAnne Yates and John Maanen, Introduction. In Information Technology and Organizational Transformation: History, Rhetoric, and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2001, p. xii.Google Scholar
  32. 50.
    Dan Schiller, Digital Capitalism: Networking the Global Market System. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999, p. 28.Google Scholar
  33. 51.
    William J. Mitchell, E-topia: Urban Life, Jim—But not as We Know It. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000, p. 13.Google Scholar
  34. 53.
    Saskia Sassen, Electronic Space and Power. Journal of Urban Technology 4(1), 1997: 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 54.
    D. Massey, “Power-Geometry and a Progressive Sense of Place.” In Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures, Global Change edited by J. Bird, B. Curtis, T. Putnam, G. Robertson and L. Tickner. London: Routledge, 1993, p. 61.Google Scholar
  36. 55.
    Linda Garcia, The Globalization of Telecommunications and Information. In The New Information Infrastructure: Strategies for US Policy edited by William J. Drake. New York: The Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1995, pp. 75–92.Google Scholar
  37. 56.
    Stephen Graham, Towards Urban Cyberspace Planning: Grounding the Global Through Urban Telematics Policy and Planning. In Technocities edited by John Downey and Jim McGuigan. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1999, p. 10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 57.
    Eli M. Noam, Information and Communications Policy Research. In The Information Resources Policy Handbook: Research for the Information Age edited by Benjamin M. Compaine and William H. Read. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999, p. 428.Google Scholar
  39. 58.
    Martin Dodge and Rob Kitchin, Mapping Cyberspace. New York: Routledge, 2001, p. 2.Google Scholar
  40. 59.
    James W. Cortada, 21st Century Business: Managing and Working in the New Digital Economy. London: Prentice-Hall, 2001, p. 31.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michel S. Laguerre 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michel S. Laguerre
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations