Published on February 24, 2014
Multispeed Cities: The Logistics of Living in an Information Age
Introduction The project examines how landline telephones, mobile telephones and the Internet influence daily life for a relatively privileged and a relatively disadvantaged neighbourhood within Newcastle upon Tyne.
Focus and Findings • The focus of the study is on how ICTs are (or are not) being incorporated into key areas of everyday life i.e. financial management, food shopping, training and employment, and local collective action. • The findings of this project will offer new insights into the effects of the ‘digital divide’ on the life chances of communities and neighbourhoods within urban Britain
The aims of the project • To investigate how ICTs affect social inclusion and exclusion • To assess the effect of combinations of multiple information technologies on social polarisation • Less a divide of PC ownership than divisive PC ownership • To understand how ICTs interconnect with time-space routines in the city • To explore whether information rich communities are enabled to compress more activities into their time while information poor ones are made to expend more time in accomplishing the same tasks
Logistics of daily life • Temporality of everyday life • Felski – invoked as ‘grounding reality’ • ‘Real city’, ‘real lives’ • Cyclical repetitive • Not just city of acceleration but routine • Liveability – small things making differences • Bus scheduling • Synchronise and synchronise activities
• ‘We need to rise up from the flat map with its static patterns and think in terms of a world on the move, a world of incessant permutations’ (Hägerstrand 1982:323).
Chronopolitics • Virilio - ‘chronological topographies’ disaggregating a formerly unified spatial terrains and radical redeployment of time (2000) - where ‘ubiquity, instantaneity and the populating of time supplants the populating of space’ (1998:58). • Time squeeze • Christine Boyer (1996) min-max pattern • on the one hand ‘a society of cocoons ... where people hide away at home, linked into communication networks’ that allow, and increasingly compel, a frenetic globally connected lifestyle • opt out of the rest of the city through a ‘spatial closure’ (Burrows 1997:38) • On the other: Virilio ‘local time’ actively ‘slowed down’ as conventional facilities are removed or replaced.
Timescape Temporality Time frame Time point Tempo Timing TIMESCAPE = TIME, SPACE & MATTER Past Duration ⇔ Instantaneity Present Sequence ⇔ Simultaneity Future Repetition ⇔ Rhythm ⇔ Beat Cause ⇔ Effect ⇔Time lag Reason ⇔ Action ⇔ Symptom (Adam 2002) • Space-time metaphor • Added sense of timing • Rhythm, repetition and acceleration
Implicit – deficit and acceleration model • Lack of ICTs assumed to be deficit of cash, knowledge and produce deficit
• UNDP : “creating parallel communications systems: one for those with income, education and literally - connections, giving plentiful information at low costs and high speed ; the other for those without connections, blocked by high barriers of time, cost and uncertainty and dependent on out-dated information. With people in these two systems living and competing side-by-side, the advantages of connection are overpowering” (1999, 62).
Implicit – deficit and acceleration model • Lack of ICTs assumed to be deficit of cash, knowledge and produce deficit • Access barriers assumed to be only obstacle • Kiosks, terminals, training
‘E-Government for Newcastle - A Vision for March 2004’ • ‘Social inclusion will be maintained by the provision of computer facilities in libraries and other public buildings, where staff will be trained to help people use them. On-street kiosks, some with cashpoint machines, will bring information and transaction systems to every community’.
Implicit – deficit and acceleration model • Lack of ICTs assumed to be deficit of cash, knowledge and produce deficit • Access barriers assumed to be only obstacle • Kiosks, terminals, training • ? mapping a direct transfer of ‘social networks’ into ‘electronic networks’
Spatial distantiation • Online facilities – delocalised networks of friends and services • ‘end of tyranny of geography’ • Increase spatial extensibility • Real time(-ish) action at a distance • Impact on local social networks and services • Bank withdrawal, preferential online rates, etc • ‘The resulting urban tissues will be characterized by live/work dwellings, twenty four-hour neighbourhoods, loose-knit, far-flung configurations of electronically mediated meeting places..’ Bill Mitchell 1999: 7 • ‘locational freedom does not mean locational indifference’ p76 positive travel correlation not substitution • ? Extent of delocalisation of outcome • Where are services and people? • Where is communicating done • Revisiting Kilburn High street • The Wired bus stop
Telepresence and time-geography • Increased ability to do more than one thing at a time • Interweaving tasks • Movement between points in e-space consumes little time • Prisms of opportunity shifted • • • • • • Only in one place at a time? task duration – shortened? Co-presence not for everything – but for some Packing constraint? Bandwidth ‘presence’ becomes insecure Time poor connectivity rich? • Always connected
Consequential effects • Not just up take of technology • Movement from novelty to necessity • Effect on non-adopters • Differential pricing • Removal of services • Effect of adopters • Dial-up hogging • Educational justification -Recreational sidelines • Effect across technologies • Cable TV to broadband
Case Studies • The research compares Jesmond and Blakelaw wards in Newcastle-upon-Tyne the latter being among the 20% most deprived wards in England and the former being among the most affluent 20%. • Super-included and cut off ? • They are located less than one mile apart separated by rough parkland – and a dual carriageway
Methods of data collection • Baseline survey on multiple media • Interviews • • • • Type of use Reason for use Reason for non use effects • Time diaries • Problematic response rate
In Conclusion • • • • Temporal intensification Spatial extensification Two-speed ? Externalities and consequences rather than access • Multiple technologies interacting
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