PRINT March 1994


Andrew Ross

WE HAVE NOW HEARD hacks on all sides proclaiming that we increasingly live in cyberspace and that physical location on the ground is an old-school redundancy—have PC, will travel the info superhighway, Route Whatever. Try telling that to anyone without a roof over their heads, or without a nation that will grant them asylum, let alone a minimum-wage job. Landed property empires and rentier fiefdoms may not be the unchallenged sources of power they were, but land speculation and land-use contests are hardly becoming ghosts in the RAM machine of cybernetic real estate.

Ditto for struggles over the environment. You don’t need to mystify organic village life to recognize that physical habitats and environments, even the high-density built environments of the city, are intrinsic components of people’s identity. Their deterioration, and our dislocation from them, can have catastrophic effects.

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