Telecity: Information Technology and Its Impact on City Form

By Tarik A. Fathy | Go to book overview
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sizes the interpretive dimension of technology. The oil crisis in the early 1970s obligated changes in automobile technology to economize fuel consumption and produce smaller, more efficient models. Political conflict and rising economic power in the Middle East have influenced the use of prevailing technology in production processes. Despite their potential as a powerful and lowcost energy resource, nuclear power plants have been limited in their use to generate electric energy by environmental concerns. Local politics and social issues, then, have forced restricted application of the material dimension of technology.

By focusing on the materiality of technology, the problems of technics are often addressed too late, when technologies are already uncontrollable. A phenomenological hermeneutics of technology is required to explore both possibilities and limitations of technology. Society and technology are so closely intertwined that to examine one is to examine the other. In fact, technology is primarily social information.

It is important to emphasize this dialectical relationship between society and technology. Technology shapes the skills and abilities of labor and, therefore, establishes distinctive divisions of labor through its development. Technology also provides new opportunities and potential for social development. In turn, society has control over technology and manipulates it according to its needs and desires. Society dictates technology by interpretation and its construction of meaning.

In the next chapter, we will define a threefold scheme of current conditions along with escalating impact on society applying phenomenological hermeneutics of technology. The introduction of new information technologies and the social transformation toward a services- and information-based economy will be analyzed.


NOTES
1
Public transport ensured the integration of different zones and activities in the city, distributing the internal flow according to a bearable time/space relationship along their routes ( Alonso 1964; Evans 1973).
2
The telephone launched the first two-way communication across distance, permitting further suburbanization and urban sprawl ( Pool 1977).

-23-

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