Internet Strengthens Cities?

An article from Wired Magazine suggests that the Internet is a sort of social super-glue, facilitating connections between people. As a result, they want more face-to-face contact and find it in cities.

In big cities, our communication tools are especially helpful because they keep us from getting lost in the crowd (which is not something you worry about in a one-street town). There are even services that tell you where your friends are by locating their cell signals.

Facebook, the new urban planning tool :-)

3 responses to “Internet Strengthens Cities?”

  1. I’m not on Facebook, it’s too Orwellian for my tastes.

    Having said that, I’d say the Internet is mixed-bag: the good side is it’s easy to publish content and opinions. The bad side is… it’s easy to publish content and opinions! It’s good to talk to others that share common interests and views, getting into virtual arguments with them isn’t.

    I’ve attended some “get-togethers” for some of the the websites I frequent (including Portland Transport), and I’d say it’s been a beneficial experience for everyone. The people that disagree online meet in person, shake hands, and occasionally someone says something along the lines of “…even though I disagree I can understand your point of view on the subject…,” and you’d never know these are people that are philosophically different from each other. However, this type of contact has to happen and be agreed upon by everyone in order to make it effective.

    From the article: Email makes it quicker and easier to reach your colleagues — you don’t have to interrupt them, and messages are easy to process. But email doesn’t stop you from wanting facetime, too.

    I actually agree – besides, it makes it easier for people who are concerned about interrupting someone. Also, e-mail is standard, just about everyone who’s online has at least one address they check periodically, and it’s doesn’t require or expect instant communication the same way a phone call or instant messaging system does. How many people have answered e-mails where the only reason for the e-mail is ‘are you attending the meeting at (this day and time)?,’ or on a more personal level ‘…I was wondering if we can meet (here on this day)….’

    Also from the article:Air travel is at record highs.

    And so has local travel in this country… a December 4, 2007 press release on the American Public Transit Assoc. website says third quarter 2007 ridership is up 2 percent over third quarter 2006 ridership. (Please note the release says bus ridership was up only one-tenth of a percent, nationwide. So it’s not just the Portland region that’s experiencing flat bus ridership.) Maybe online schedules, trip planning, and the like are being discussed in people’s e-mails and are part of the reason for the increase (?).

  2. Not sure how to post comments, questions to this site. I am in maryland and involved in efforts to plan light rail system here. I have a couple of requests. One situation we are facing is possible light rail on some urban streets. I am interested in seeing videos of what it looks like in portland on neighborhood streets with light rail. Would like to gather community experiences in planning for light rail, options considered, and experiences after light rail was built. please contact me if you can help answer.

    tony hausnerh

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