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am 18. Juli 2000
E-topia presents a top-level, grounded look at a distant future through the impact of Internet technology specifically related to rich-nations urban spaces, architecture, work and leisure.
The concise, intelligently written, well-referenced chapters span:
* march of the meganets- digiphiles versus digiphobes, after the digital revolution, information infrastructure & opportunity, new networks and urban transformation, the big pipes, connected to the backbone, new global interdependence, from POP to your door, the network city extended, the end of rural isolation, residual wireless backblocks, public and private, behind the firewalls and filters, and the task ahead.
* telematics takes command- proscenium and display, screenspace, out of the box, center and periphery, up in the lights, virtual reality, and augmented reality.
* software- new genius of the place- embedded intelligence, instant networking, and form fetches function.
* computers for living in- wear ware, body nets, appliance intelligence, electronic teamwork, buildings with nervous systems, intelligent resource consumption, adaptive behaviour, reconceiving construction, the I-bahn, and smart cities.
* homes and neighbourhoods- displacement of space, reconfigured homes, rethinking planning/zoning, sociology of wired dwellings, localisation, renucleation, twenty-four hour electronic neighbourhoods, redistributed secondary relationships, and dual cities.
* getting together- online meeting places, shift in scale, invisible boundaries, virtuality, connectivity and sociability, electronic co-ordination, cyberturf, e-vox populi, civitas and urbs decoupled, and reinventing public space.
* reworking the workplace- exchanging intangible products, delivering information products, remaking making, value from knowledge, relocating production, make after buying, the recombinant workplace, and mobilising enterprises.
* the teleserviced city- typology of service systems, summoning assistance, keeping tabs, surveillance and seclusion, delivery at a distance, web of indirect relationships, telerobotics, the teleservice paradox, electronic fronts & architectural backs, and serving space.
* the economy of presence- the cost of being there, traditional limits, asynchronous alternative, information mobilization, remote interaction, modes and operations, costs and benefits, and power of place.
* lean and green- dematerialisation, demobilisation, mass customisation, intelligent operation, and self transformation.
Initially this reviewer was put-off by the sometimes obscure vocabulary, and relative-complexity of grammar (compared with a recent reading-list of simplistic e-business texts). By the end of the book, the synergy of contributions & style proved a key strength. Other strengths include: the coherence, attractiveness and power of future scenarios presented; and related discussion about the rich-poor gap within neighbourhoods and the World.
Improvements could include: better use of illustrations or tables in place of existing lengthier textual descriptions; deeper material in areas beyond the MIT professor-author's expertise of architecture & computer science (e.g. world class manufacturing, supply chain management, teleworking, appropriate technology, and development economics); and greater evidence of significant research & results beyond MIT.
Overall very highly recommended- 'E-topia' is a must-read for business-technologists seeking a bigger context, as well as "blue-sky futurists" seeking a balanced pragmatic view of possibilities.
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am 24. Juni 2000
With Low Orbit Satellites blanketing the entire earth in the very near future, what exactly stops anyone from investing a mere $10million to create a solar/wind/water energy, recycle treatment, organic 21st century electronic village that's only accessible via helicopter and a 30mile dirt road, protected and luxuriated by latest greatest technology from all the elements of discomfort & insecuruty?
Who needs undrinkable floride water, low-speed copper wired communication and urban hatred? In 2 decades the entire urbanization will seem like a bad housing project.
The foundations of urbanization is severely decaying by the minute. Sewage, water, electricity, communicaton, education, healthcare, trade are all in a state of crisis almost every spot in the globe without an exception.
The global tax-free marketplace of eCommerce will not only wipe out the economies as we know it, but, the geo-political boundries as well. Am sure there is enough philosophy & practical content that elucidates the disintermediation of politics, urban infrastructure, healthcare, mortgage and insurance to be replaced by a temporary utopia that will fall prey to its own decay before cycling thorough another revolution.
The question is not 'whether' such a possibility is feasible, except in the minds of the terminally cave-dwelling media-generated mass-produced drones, but one of 'when' such a transformation will occur.
Heavens! with the new cheap ECNs replacing ancient trade hubs, maybe the concept of barter may take on a new meaning altogether.
The delay is, who will foot the first $10million to create a prototype of 21st century hamlet? A mere play-money for many a sillionaire.
This is certainly an excellent book for those who are not complacently satisfied with the state of the world & want to do something genuinely creative and is a wonderful ammunition for armchair doomsayers.
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am 30. Oktober 1999
All in all, Mitchell's vision of urban life in the industrialized nations is compelling. He weaves a convincing mosaic of The City of "real soon now", where the design elements of architecture are extended to include the additions of Bandwidth, telepresence, conduit and storage. Indeed, as a network engineer myself, I believe he pretty much has it spot on, for those of us who are fortunate to live in the Northern Hemisphere. But what of the rest of the planet who won't have OC-48 cables running down their main streets? (80% of humanity have never come in contact with a computer, let alone a network infrastructure). He paints a picture of a glorious brave new cyberworld for the top 5%, but ignores the implications of this technology on the other 95% of the people on this rock we call earth. Still, if you are one of the fortunate ones (or wish you were) to be able to take part in this vision, the book is well worth reading. Earth: E-topia or Borg Planet, YOU decide!
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