[ExI] Are Cities Dead? (was Re: moving bits, not butts)

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Tue Mar 1 19:23:09 UTC 2011

On Tue, Mar 01, 2011 at 11:18:07AM -0700, Kelly Anderson wrote:
> If telepresence becomes good enough, and convincing enough, does that
> obviate the need for large cities? Are there other justifications for
> large cities? I can see ports continuing to be important, and I can

Restaurants.  Energy-efficiency of goods transport.

And you're talking about a very very very high level of telepresence, to
compete with live music, walks in the park, zoos, people-watching, bars,
clubs, coffeehouses, and yes, sex with whoever you picked up in various

> I have never lived in a large city in the US. I have lived in Taipei
> and Sao Paulo, but I don't get the reasons for being in a large city.

Choices.  Lots of options.  Lots of people.  Who meet and share ideas
and change jobs between many similar businesses.  In the real world,
large cities are the major economic engines, and people like meeting
each other for all sorts of reasons.

> Are cities dead in the future? I thought 9/11 would make people want
> to leave large cities, but I don't think that is happening.

The threat of *nuclear war* didn't make people want to leave large
cities.  9/11?  Piffle.

> I don't even like small towns myself anymore. I live in the boonies
> with the nearest neighbor over a mile away... so I know I'm on the
> weird end of this spectrum. But I am curious. What are cities good for
> in the future?

Being able to walk to groceries down the block, not drive for miles...

How long does it take an ambulance to show up in distributed
telepresence world?  Or does everyone have a remote-controllable autodoc
in their Solarian fortress as well?

-xx- Damien X-) 

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