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or : The Belly Of An Architect.
(INTRO) É.-L. Boullée was a theorist of the so-called visionary architecture, whose fantasy truly didn't influence the building over the French revolution age. Very different impact got the Bauhaus masters onto the modern practice —for example Mies Van der Rohe who built famous skyscrapers in Chicago after leaving Europe in 1938, C@ www.bauhaus.de. "Less is more" is a core concept of his architecture and I have thought of that while writing the last piece on the world's great cities. A pre-text to analyze briefly the Internet as social and political framework. I won't be quizzical. I have pick up some information that I think might be interesting to you.
3.1 - The Market Plaza.
The Web has recently rediscovered the rectangular grid plan of the old 'forum' as the city's main civic and mercantile square. Mostly advanced Web architecture is inspired by the Vitruvius city system, in which two main streets intersect at the point representing the city center. A system to point and click also, C@ powernet.or.id, where the moving grid is similar to the ancient pantograph for drawing, isn't it? The metaphor of the 'market plaza' in the World Wide Web serves to fix the new hypermedia computer mediated environment (HCME). That is an environment where —like the market square— many activities are developed at one time: (a) "there is a strong integration between public communication, commercial communication, and private communication"; (b) "research of information is mixed with the possibility to establish relationships and consume entertainment"; (c) "it is a pluricasting environment" (1).
«I am citizen of Berlin» (J.F. Kennedy). In the beliefs of Berlin —once model-city divided among 4 victorious powers— there was one part of true and one of false. Right is that two projections of herself went with the city, the one capitalist and the other communist. But about their lacked co-existence we are mistaken. Today B. is again a model-city planned by the most influential architects, built of the dearest materials on the market and efficiently working by any of her minimal gears. At the zenith of B. lies a hidden city which shines through the rejected things: potato peels, dismissed nylons, rotten car, military pins, lost buttons, subway tickets, egg shells. Still the long haired angels stand on her sky above. What if the model-city were really the second? To reveal "eine Stadt im Netz", C@ www.berlin.de.
3.2 - The Digital Revolution.
The highest population growth rate belongs to megalopolis of developing countries (see part 2). The Internet itself has first developed inside the metropolitan areas, because a new technology is used to find application within well established community and industry. A larger number of people and businesses is an important factor in allowing the new digital techniques to be experienced in a less expensive manner (critique mass). So the urban dwellers, powered by general infrastructures as the points accessing the Net, ara able to confirm a legendary open minded behavior —"Aux armes les citoyens". Truth to tell the Internet access could become the 2000 era's revolution whether you consider the Digital Divide phenomenon as "the disparity between those who have use of and access to information and communication technology (ICT) tools versus those who do not. Digital divides exist both within countries and regions and between countries". And within cities would I add! —Definition by the World Economic Forum, C@ www.weforum.org. In a global perspective it is important to consider the digital divide a key argument to grasp the idea that "while the mere presence of ICT will not guarantee economic and social development, it is widely held that ICTs are tools that can enable a better quality of life". Who cares of? From regular citizens to policy-makers, from students to entrepreneurs. Thus the Internet technology would be an opportunity to help both business and individual emancipation up the needs ladder (Maslow's, part 2). And a great thing for the Relationship Marketing too!
«Anybody is not allowed to enter Corinth» (Strabo). An institution from the Capetian French survives formally in the town meeting of Milan —I won't disregard it. To pool the knowledge on the city's condition, the incumbent "mayor summons the great and the good to join in a grand assembly, called the Estates General... The city is no longer losing population, which is now steady at 1.3m... 8% of all residents in Milan are immigrants, against Italy's overall 2%... The city is still Italy's powerhouse. Its exports are about 14% of Italy's total. It houses 108 banks, half of them foreign, and six universities, including Bocconi, whose MBA school is among the best in Europe. [C@ www.sda-uni.bocconi.it] Wages are the third highest in Italy. Old economy, new economy, fashion, publishing, media, advertising: no Italian city can match Milan's wealth and strength". On the international press a few weeks ago (2). I couldn't do better but the title: 3-state pool, a 'Bribesville' legacy?
3.3 - The Quality Of Living.
The Nobel prize-winning Amertiya Sen has developed influential indices to measure income distribution and poverty C@ www.nobel.se. Rejecting the neo-liberals beliefs he reckons that greater responsibility for the well-being of society must be given, not to the market, but to the state. About hunger as a political weapon we all have to agree: "Food is not in short supply. In fact, food products have never been so abundant. There is enough available to provide each of the Earth's inhabitants with at least 2,700 calories a day. But production alone is not enough. The people who need the food must be able to buy it and consume it. And that is precisely the problem. 30 million people a year die of hunger" (3). This statement doesn't allow marketing —as market technique— to solve the world hunger issue. Economics has rather developed theories on the relationships between the population trends and starving. From Malthus —English economist— on a lot has been written about the risk of food scarcity and the birth control, most surpassed by the new consideration that the hunger is a strategy pursued by governments and military regimes. Maybe the sharpest arguments about the degenerating effects by an ultra competitive society for both population growth and life quality to the working and middle classes, were filmed on "The Meaning of Life" by Monty Python (1982). Englishmen confirming their attitude on the topic.
«The right product to the right person at the right price on the right place...» (anonymous). According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Tokyo remains the priciest city. Let's see the price index at December 2000 (New York = 100):
In the end I would try to talk about the mundane problems the city has to face daily: the exhales of smog over the roofs; the opaque fumes that don't disperse; the large avenues jammed by traffic. They are apparently not stuff for marketing. Yet I would offer you some suggestions on how to manage some problems thinking at them as connections of social issues, citizenship wants and needs, marketing planning. I accounted on the 'New Earth 1993' —an exhibition of environmental technology— in Osaka through the "NewEarth 1993 Report", Italian text.
Sources and sentences by:
— (1) Andreina Mandelli, "The Internet and the New Media: Mass Communication for Relationship Marketing" C@ www.tin.it/osservatorio_bocconi
— (2) The Economist, "The thread of the future" C@ www.economist.com
— (3) Ignacio Ramonet, "The politics of hunger" C@ www.monde-diplomatique.fr
— Props due to the bibliography and all the cities I visited in my lifetime...
(OUTRO) Alfred Döblin wrote "Berlin Alexanderplatz" a novel on the living and dying in a great faded city. No one could meet today the urban characters of those times, because the human types of people are changing as fast as the brick and mortar residences. Today Berlin Postdamer Platz is a plain prototype of the international commercial architecture hired by the multinational commitments. As they are the engine of the modern economy, these corporations are feeding the main flows and challenges all over the world. The fast architecture is projecting the "global city" bound to the world wide network, whereas the fast enginneering is developing brand new built-up areas ready to sell. It will be a bargain: for the sensible ground that the United Nations are expecting the global population living in the cities to increase from present 2.4 billion to 5 billion people within 2025. A fair-sized crowd ready to house.
PS. Because of hard work some architects are turning into two-step music performers!
End/Start of A City and Three Noughts
A City and Three Noughts - Première [March 01/01].
©2001 Roberto Dondi-DMLR.ORG
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