Digital Networks and the Unwired City

1st Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Hubertus von Amelunxen (ISNM)

2nd Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Schrader (ISNM)

This thesis is an investigation of the effects of digital communication networks on the city. It is structured into four parts. The first part looks at communication and the important role it played in the development of the historical city. This part also traces the development and the relationships between wireless communication and the city. Examples are presented where wireless projects have been introduced into urban spaces, most notably Bryant Park, New York. The second part examines how telecommunication technology is changing ways of perceiving and experiencing the urban environment. Thirdly, this thesis examines claims that advancing telecommunication technologies would lead to the “death of distance” and urban dissolution. It argues instead, that human desire for face-to-face contact is complimented and not replaced by digital networks. Furthermore, telecommunications support the existing urban fabric of connectivity. The fourth and final part considers digital telecommunications and the future of the city and what the consequences will be for urban policy makers. The issue of surveillance at the price of commercial convenience is also discussed. Seoul Digital Media City is presented as an example of a city that is being built with digital communication networks intertwined into the design process.