10 July 2010

cellular phone infrastructure in Philadelphia

A small selection of cellular phone sites throughout Philadelphia.  Top to bottom, left to 
right:  Washington Ave around 22nd St.; off 5th St. north of Spring Garden; 6th St at Spring 
Garden -- note the rectangular transmitters on the roof of the building and Verizon's large 
tower in the background; transmitters on top of St. Peter's Church of Christ at Kingsessing 
Ave. and 47th St.; North Broad St. near Erie Ave.; South Philadelphia near Front St.; South
Broad St.and Tasker St. with cell site directly on top of an apartment building; Spring Garden
between 3rd St. and 4th St.;  off 13th St. just north of Washington Ave. 

                                                (for a larger version of the image, click here
As the utility of cell phones increases, especially as they become mobile, pocketable, Internet-ready computers, the web of infrastructure required to keep these devices connected (I hesitate to even call them phones since they multi-task so extensively) increases.  To have a signal strong enough to check one's email or location requires a cell site close nearby, wherever and whenever that location is.  Consequently, these in-between, interstitial non-spaces, wedged in at the edge of a major freeway off-ramp for instance, or on top of an apartment building or church,  become integral to all of our everyday lives.  When people rely on an always-on connection to a communication network, the geography of these spaces of radio-signal transmission become as important as the asphalt and concrete geography of the city.

There is plenty to write about this, so stay tuned and I will make an attempt this summer to post more often...thanks for reading.

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