23 November 2013

peripheral landscapes

Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris. July 2012.

What has not been realized at all is any corresponding automation of the production of built structures [compared to what information technology and automated production have done for work environments and other fields]. This has meant that in relative terms buildings have continued to become more expensive, while other goods have become cheaper. The volume of new construction is now less than it used to be, and western cities have not changed anything like as much as was expected in, say, the early 1960s. Most of the new landscapes which have evolved as a result of computer-driven change have been peripheral, and either ephemeral and relatively insubstantial--the logistics warehouse, the container port, the business park--or, if more substantial, have been realized only because they generate very high profits--the shopping mall, the airport.

--Patrick Keiller, from the essay Popular Science, included in The View from the Train (Verso 2013, p. 70).

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