Wednesday 15 Aug 2018 | 18:45 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 15 Aug 2018 | 18:45 | SYDNEY

Txt and the city


Sam Roggeveen


6 September 2010 13:48

In this extract from a 1964 BBC program (h/t TDW), sci-fi novelist and futurist Arthur C Clarke makes two bold and visionary predictions — one is remarkably accurate; the other is dead wrong.

It looks like Clarke got the connection between cities and communications backward: far from undermining the incentive to commute, the communications revolution just facilitates that tendency. With a mobile device that allows you to phone, text, navigate and translate, it is easier than ever to meet with people, even in cities you have never visited before.

And if Clarke had been right, then the transport industry would have withered along with the cities themselves. But more people are flying than ever before, and communications technology again plays a role — it is now laughably easy to book and pay for an airline flight.

Urbanisation is, of course, a global trend, but here's a local angle which examines why our CBDs remain commercially attractive and why even the National Broadband Network won't turn it around. It's also worth checking out Richard Florida's work on cities and 'the creative class'. And here's a list of readings about urbanisation that Interpreter readers recommended back in January 2009.