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Communications and the City - Essay Example

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Communications and the City

Consider the tricorders in use in the original Star Trek television series and early films; the video wristwatches that were available to James Bond back in the 1970's, and the eerie way in which Sandra Bullock's droid character was able to see into Sylvester Stallone's memories in Demolition Man. Now that the 21st century has arrived, we are completely surrounded by communication. We carry access to the World Wide Web in our pockets; the ability to communicate digitally has actually slowed our interpersonal communication, as we spend our time with other people texting people who are not with us, or posting information about what we are doing on Facebook or other social media sites. However, communication from the media to us does not just travel through smartphones, and the newest forms of urban planning are taking this change into account. One of the challenges facing urban planners is the inclusion of robust methods of communication and media technology without ending up living in the dank, black sort of city that served as The Running Man's labyrinth. However, incorporating media into city planning does not mean that citizens have to have walls built up between themselves and others, either in the form of dark skyscrapers or suburban sprawl. The very word “media” has taken on the connotation of passive reception of entertainment, networking with people close at hand as well as on the other side of the globe (McCullough 2006, 16). McCullough (2006) applies the term “locative” to media technology that leaves the desktop and the laptop behind and works its way into the other parts of our mundane lives. The good news is that the media technology that is used in urban planning does not have to take the form of a separate world that sits behind a large desktop monitor, as Walker (1989) envisioned. This vision of larger access to media did populate the cultural imagination, as such films as I, Robot and such novels as Ready Player One saw a future in which the true controllers of the world would sit behind glass walls in offices, manipulating events through touch screens and avatars. However, the world has proven not to be so difficult to infiltrate with media. The advent of the smartphone, as well as larger-scale technologies, enable people to indulge their taste for media while out on the streets. This has taken some time to take place, though. In 2005, the Where 2.0 conference was all about the transition of online information from the computer to geospace (McCullough 2006, 16). The advent of all of the Web 2.0 tools has made the notion of “cyberspace” almost an antiquated one. While one still sees ruddy invitations to come to websites, more often than not one can find the necessary web content all about one, no matter where one is. You no longer have to unplug from your social surroundings, go upstairs, power on the computer, plug in the modem, and wait for your information. You don't even have to sit down; you can access it while on the move. In fictive environments, of course, this was predicted long ago, most frightfully by the visions of George Orwell in 1984. The purpose of the information technology in Smith's world, of course, was surveillance, as Big Brother and the Party were all about keeping tabs on the deeds, words, and even thoughts ...Show more


Name Instructor Class Communications and the City It is interesting how dystopian our views of the city of tomorrow invariably are. In film, in novels, in imagination, our cities just get taller, darker, faster, and dirtier. The common niceties that typified human society up until now seem to have been obliterated by the growth of the impersonal city…
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Communications and the City essay example
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