City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn

William J. Mitchell, Author
William J. Mitchell, Author MIT Press (MA) $20 (225p) ISBN 978-0-262-13309-8
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-0-262-63176-1
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-91148-1
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-585-02442-4
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Digital technology is turning traditional architectural theory and planning upside down, contends Mitchell, who teaches architecture and media arts at MIT. In this rigorous, highly engaging study, he charts both the architecture of cyberspace and the transformation of buildings and living space in the information age. Examining a wide range of digital phenomena, such as the Internet, encryption tools, the major online services and virtual reality, he explains that the architectural paradigms put forth by civic planners and critics, from Aristotle to Baron Haussmann and Lewis Mumford, do not apply to cyberspace. Mitchell argues that online communities, transcending geographic boundaries and social contexts, offer new ways of thinking about urban design, private and public space, the separation of work and home life and personal identity. In more speculative chapters, he walks us through the changes in civic institutions such as libraries, hospitals, museums, banks and bookstores, changes made possible by computer technology. Complete with architectural blueprints, illustrations of digital gadgetry and an index of related Internet ``surf sites,'' this is a particularly clever and evocative look at the ``soft cities'' of the 21st century. (Sept.)
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