The limits of ‘the city as a platform’

The Conversation has an interesting piece called “WeWork approached physical space as if it were virtual, which led to the company’s downfall”. In the article, the author argues that dreams of cities as cybernetic systems – while old – have their limits.

The author suggests that this cybernetic logic of essentially seeing cities and computers as the same in terms of ‘informational flows’, is what led to the downfall of WeWork:

“Earlier in the twentieth century, offices were thought of as, essentially, industrial buildings. […] But during World War II, executives witnessed the military use giant mainframes for logistics and deciphering codes. Afterwards, many started thinking of an office filled with workers as a kind of computing infrastructure.”

But of course offices are more than that. They are social work spaces, and give people a sense of place and belonging. WeWorkfailed to deliver exactly this.

Ultimately, the author concludes with a reference to Shannon Mattern’s book, the city is not a computer…

Link to article on The Conversation >>

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