Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor
18 December 2013
His essay hit so close to home. I have to refuse to quote the whole thing, also I wouldn’t mind, if Dezeen would pay him handsome money to reprint it in their magazine. Just tweeting about it wouldn’t do it justice, so here are some of my favorite passages that will surely make you want to read it all.
In other words, MIT’s Stata Center designed by Frank Gehry made an imperfect transition from bits to atoms: Gehry has made a name for himself by designing buildings that are only possible in a world augmented by computers, but seems to have spent precious few hours considering how social the birth and life of buildings truly are.
What Goderberger is missing is that Silicon Valley as we know it today is a product of a virtual world, not the creator of it. Virtual in the sense that suburbs are meant to be interchangeable, universal substrates upon which we graft our hopes, dreams, and preferred geographic genres. The same sub-development, with a few alterations in color scheme and road signage, can sufficiently represent the natural flora and fauna that its construction displaced; whether it be Prairie Bluffs in the southwest, Flamingo Cove in the South, or Eagle’s Landing in the northeast. It is in this infinitely pliable world that the Internet thrives. The ‘burbs is the social web’s natural habitat. These headquarters aren’t the product of ignoring “what real buildings and real towns should look like” they are a deliberate if not conscious choice to house the work of building networks within the progeny of Le Courbusier’s modern vision of total living machines. The Cold War’s promise of mutually assured nuclear destruction not only spurred the computer network research that eventually turned into the Internet we know today, it also demanded that dense cities be abandoned in favor of sprawling suburbs.
This latest iteration of networks and built environments is earmarked by company campuses sitting atop long term or permanent tax free land operating fleets of private shuttles instead of investing in public infrastructure. It is a classic case of socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Just like an iTunes to iPod connection, it’s a closed ecosystem but it “just works.”