Technopolis. The advent of the automobile changed how–and where–people could live. Are advances in telecommunications actually changing the definition of what a city is or should be?

All types of wireless technologies or, more generally, mobile technologies that are coming along, like position systems, location-based applications that they can support, 3G, etc.–they are really changing the capacity of cities to support face-to-face interaction. If you think about it, people with a mobile phone can use their time much more efficiently. They don't have to go to that meeting if it's been canceled and then waste their time getting back. It permits people who live in cities to be much more flexible and adaptive, and as a result, more gets done. It makes the city more efficient but also more dynamic.

There is some really interesting work being done. Howard Rheingold–who's known for his earlier work on virtual communities–referred to what's called “swarming behavior.” This is the idea that mobile technologies are creating much more mobile, dynamic communities that more closely resemble swarms than the way we've done things before.

He doesn't do this, but if you extend it to what'll happen in cities, it means that you are going to need different kinds of spaces to accommodate people who are moving and communicating and using space differently. Waiting rooms become something of an anachronism because no one really waits anymore.  [Smart Mobs]

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