We're not all about to become "rootless, laptop-toting, cellphoning nomads"--thank goodness! This is the reassuring message of William J. Mitchell's latest volume, which imagines how digital technology will shape our cities and communities in the future.
Witty, lucid and objective, futurist guru Mitchell examines how "smart" (ie technologically adapted) places, buildings and clothes, will change our relationships with other people and objects. Essentially, that means more working from home (which will affect housing), friendlier neighbourhoods (because we can link up more easily) and globalisation carried to bizarre ends (very-low-wage workers in Africa can watch video monitors connected to security cameras in New York).
Mitchell makes the exciting argument that we can fashion the new world in the way we want. It will be possible for the affluent elite to use technology to create privileged enclaves: Silicon Valley professionals can already commute to their campus workplaces barely noticing the crime-ridden areas; alternatively, architects and urban designers can help to create social groups that intersect and overlap.
This is an important book for politicians and would-be entrepreneurs. Mitchell predicts many changes: for example, cooks, gardeners and nannies will be earn big bucks because they provide services which cannot be automated, but the value of information-related services (lawyers and accountants) will go down. But while the computer networks of the future will change politics, work patterns and purchasing habits, Mitchell takes the position that urban planning should still focus on the cultural, scenic and climatic attractions of place. In the end Mitchell's vision is neither a utopia or a dystopia, but a convincing portrait of life in the ditigal age. --Brian Jenner
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"... e-topia is a good primer for anyone interested in how we are going to inhabit the digital era." Lawrence Chua, Bookforum " E-topia offers a brilliant and succinct lesson on how the evolution of information and other technologies has altered the way we build workplaces and communities, manage relationships, and supply our material wants and needs. It unobtrusivelylays digital technology into historical and material context, renderingit this way as something not to fear." Randall Lyman , San Francisco Bay Guardian "Mitchell has done it again! This dazzling survey of the cyberfuture andits impact on urban life shows that he is still the world's foremostauthority on the subject." Sir Peter Hall , Bartlett Professor of Planning, University College London "Few people understand the challenges and opportunities of emerging networksociety better than William J. Mitchell. A visionary with a program,Mitchell not only points us toward a new future but also shows us how toget there. Anyone interested in the shape of life in the 21st centuryshould read this book." Mark C. Taylor , Director of the Center for Technology in the Arts and Humanities, Williams College " E-topia offers a brilliant and succinct lesson on how the evolution of information and other technologies has altered the way we build workplaces and communities, manage relationships, and supply our material wants and needs. It unobtrusivelylays digital technology into historical and material context, renderingit this way as something not to fear." Randall Lyman , San Francisco Bay Guardian