CyberCities: Visual Perception in the Age of Electronic Communication by M. Christine Boyer
Publisher:Princeton Architectural Press | 248 Pages | 1996-03-01 | ISBN-1568980485 | PDF | 15.96 MB
Because I believe "place" matters in a world where the virtual life is becoming more common, the work by Christine Boyer, an urban historian at Princeton, caught my eye as I was skimming the dust jackets in the new book section at Apple Library.
This is really a collection of five essays, written for conferences in the 92-95 timeframe and for an anthology that never was published, plus a short introduction and conclusion. She has a number of goals: bring the city back into discussions of modern life, explore "the analogy between the computer matrix and the space of the city", the withdrawal from the "excesses of reality into the cybernetic representations of the virtual world of computers." Part of this is due to "the dematerialization of physical space and chronological time."
While she recognizes the trend of decentralization, she does not think this is necessarily a good thing. "And why is our contemporary era so fearful of centering devices, evident from the fact that we refer to frequently to the invisible, the disappearing, the de-industrialized, the disfigured, and the decentered city?" Postmodern cultural critics have deconstructed the city in many ways because the think the notion of a unified place is an artifice. She believes this has happened at the cost of community. Like so many of us, she feels community is important but declines the challenge of defining it.