Meme 2.10 on the city metaphor in cyberspace.

I Find Karma (
Sat, 7 Sep 96 01:24:08 PDT

Imagine, briefly, that your city is an organism with people as cells,
cells forming organs, which in turn form the whole. These organs are
our civic institutions, businesses, and cultural gatherings. As large
groups, we create events moment by moment -- traffic snarls here, subway
delays there, hospitals with overflow here, ticket-sales blooming across
town. In turn, these movements have history, called patterns. Some
hospitals are slower at delivering emergency care than others, some
intersections are notoriously clogged. Some city offices deliver
certain services faster than others, at different times. Add in volume
of financial transactions at movie theaters, automatic teller machines
and restaurants, for instance. Toss in reported crime by type and
location. Pretty soon you have an accurate reflection of your city
which could be useful in a way that does not replicate the existing
"old" media.

Cyberspace is exciting partly because it offers new forms of expression
and widens our ability to reach each other devoid of an intermediary.
The shame with these city ideas is that they could wind up silencing
sections of the "old" media, forcing a round of consolidation in the
newspaper industry as the cost of these new ventures forces weaker
players to seek financial salvation. It's doubly upsetting if these
city metaphors turn out to be unappealing, destined to be categorized as
yet another high-tech boondoggle with a nasty side-effect. In the
United States where freedom of the press was explicitly established as a
bulwark of democracy it's a bitter irony that the Net, a medium
celebrated as a means of supporting the free-flow of ideas, may
contribute to the contraction of ideas offline.

A list of interesting city-based Web sites:

The Boston Globe, with their Boston city-guide:
Citysearch, acquired by AT&T, and their guide:
The Dallas Morning News and its publisher have many cities:
An interesting, AT&T affiliated, guide to Minneapolis:
Future home of AOL's Digital Cities, Inc.:
The Sacramento Bee newspaper does Sacramento, California:

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