16 March 2012

The Un(known) City

A piece of the infrastructural underground, underwater. Sierra Nevada Foothills.
A better understanding what Steve Pile articulates in the quote below encapsulates much of the work of this blog:
The development of the underground city involves a double-edged sword of progress (just as the unconscious involves the tension between opposing elements; just as the uncanny involves the play of the familiar and the strange): technologies capable of building the city underground are simultaneously destructive and creative. In order to enable the metropolis to function, to clean its streets, to rid it of disease, and to allow ease of movement of goods, information, and people, there are a vast array of underground systems. As much as progress was measured in the size and spectacle of large buildings, grand projects, wide boulevards, so under the streets lay railways, sewers, gas and water pipes, pipes for compressed air and telephone (telecommunication) cabling. As architectural and urban design render the city on the surface known and transparent through spatial practices such as urban planning, streets are repeatedly dug up, reburied, and scarred by the doctoring of the city's intestinal world. The city is indeed built on networks of information, money, and people, but these do not exist in cyberspace: they are encased in iron and plastic under the ground.

from: Steve Pile. 2001. "The Un(known) City...or, an Urban Geography of What Lies Buried below the Surface". in The Unknown City: Contesting Architecture and Social Space. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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