chapter  3
36 Pages

Networks

There has been a considerable shift from our understanding of that which constitutes ‘the city’, from the pre-modern model with a single centre and clearly defined boundary, through the subsequent sprawl, as a result of suburbanization, away from the centre thereby differentiating between the core and the periphery, to the emergence of the poly-nucleic model in which the centre and edge of the city are integrated in a variety of urban conditions. This latter model points us towards what many writers now refer to as the ‘network city’.1 This term is, however, rather problematic as there is an implicit tendency to consider the physical landscape to have the capacity and behaviour of digital infrastructures, a comparison further complicated by the commonality of some features and also the applied language by which they are described. In addition, the acknowledged cessation of the fabric

of the city to the multiplicitous conditions of urbanity has afforded a number of commentators the impulse to focus on various physio-digital analogies and draw connections between the two environments. Whilst such discussion may be useful in certain critical analysis, it does not acknowledge the distinction between the two that has occurred as a consequence of the stacking up and overlays of digital technologies upon extant physical situations to develop a ‘multi-layered landscape’.