Mobility Environments and Network Cities, Luca Bertolini and Martin Dijst
Journal of Urban Design, Vol 8, No. 1, pg 27-43, 2003
- Cities are fast becoming transformed into extensive webs of interaction, supported by transport and real-time communication networks. Designers are then asked to deal with flows rather than zones, and accessibility rather than proximity.
- The recognition of technology in creating a borderless nature to our contemporary cities does not mean we should abandon the design of physical places. Physical spaces still play an essential role in our cities, particular relating to where mobility flows interconnect. These environments depend on the specific features at each location, and also the characteristics of the visitors. How can mobility environments better articulate planning and design strategies to cope with the reality of an increasingly borderless urban system.
- the nature of peoples lives have changed and are becoming independent of urban physical and administrative boundaries. ‘People typically live in one place, work in a second and recreate in yet a third.’
- The ability to provide opportunities for human interaction is an essential reason for cities to exist. Human interaction required a location within walking distance, resulting into the physical concentration of places of residence, work and exchange. The central idea allowed time constraints to be overcome by minimising distance constraints. Modern transport and telecommunication technologies provide a radical alternative solution of overcoming time constraints and space with human interaction, thus asking the need to for centrality to exist as it once did?
- A rising level of change in social and economic structures, and cultural and demographic changes have led to a wider range of choices for individuals and organisations. This new mobility has increased human activity patterns in relation to the city.
- Each individual can then create his own ‘virtual city’ which has no set physical and administrative boundaries. How people choose to use these areas depends on tourist vs local, working hours, household income, time constraints etc. Because of this the relationship between the social dimensions the city and the physical dimensions of the city is fundamentally changing.
- With telecommunications the relationship between the social and physical boundaries is occurring. The complex webs of human interaction can be developed without any apparent spatial support. Networks of interaction between people, firms and other organisation are constantly changing, questioning geographies and spatial developments, creating a network society.
- The local is still an active network in our society. Several analysts have demonstrated that face-to-face, informal physical contact still plays a central role in the economic domain. Decentralisation co-exists with the growth of activities thriving in ‘densely built, multifunctional historic centres such as urban tourism, culture, entertainment, shopping and connected hotel and catering services.‘