The Digitized City – The book


+ info: Charles Landry

This new book describes the tectonic shift unfolding where digital devices with their disruptive potential are changing cities, society and social life, connectivity, the economy and cultural life. Its impacts and influence will be as powerful as the climactic changes that swept through our world with the industrial revolution 200 years ago. Giant turbines and whirring machines symbolized that revolution whereas this one is more invisible driven by algorithms etched into small screens.

Those who make decisions, the digital settlers, have mostly migrated into this world whereas for the young, digital natives, it is all they know. This highlights a misalignment as for the first time in history the young are teaching the old rather than the reverse.

Every new means of production changes the physical and mental landscape and how our systems operate. Its drama is clear when the world’s largest taxi company, Uber, owns no taxis; when Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content; when Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory and when Airbnb, the world’s largest hotel chain, owns no hotels.

Our data drenched world is driving transformation on a scale that changes the foundations of business and public service affecting every facet of our lives. Connectivity and data are the new forms of capital with three big game-changers being big data, the Internet of Things and intelligent objects.

The cultural landscape on rare occasions is sucked in by the gravitational pull of dynamic technologies and the ideas they engender – digitization is one. It is the dominant cultural force of the 21st century twisting everything into its orbit.