In October 2003, Seoul hosted an international conference bringing together those interested in technology-fused developments. Traveling across the world, United States representatives toured the sites of projects underway. In many ways, this was a visible signal that the East is now a model for the West. Silicon Valley was the revered benchmark in the 1990’s, but examples in Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore lead the way in the new century. In a new age of innovation-based urban development, the focus has shifted from car-centric office parks to human-centric technology centers, postulating new forms of urbanism based around the integration of the digital.
Prophesized for two decades, the information age promises radically new cities merging information, communication, and media with physical, social, and commercial life.1 The new development desire is for a concentration of creativity, to create walkable urban life that supports random interaction.2 This is a broad definition and moving target. The developments in East and Southeast Asia went through many versions and their focus re-imagined through the design process. The sentiment toward this development desire changes rapidly and also the technology available to do so. I look to uncover the story behind the developments of Digital Media City in Seoul, Cyberjaya in Malaysia and one-north in Singapore, focusing both on their transformation of concept to the employment of technology as an urban/architectural interface. Through looking at the broader concept and critical detail I hope to uncover the architectural and social consequences of these developments both in relation to their sponsoring city and their impact on urban design globally.
Do these new developments work with the culture and tradition of the residents if it is manufactured and digital? How is urban form being re-conceptualized for the knowledge-based economy within these technopoles? Opening this summer, these versions will soon tell a new story of how technology can be employed in the urban context and how it can drive urban form. In the same way the industrial revolution changed the organization of cities the post-industrial transformation to knowledge or quaternary sector of the economy has the potential to form a completely new spatial product. Through this project I hope to uncover what this spatial product might be and how less developed countries are employing this sector to leapfrog past the potential in other more developed countries. This re-versioning of the technology infused city is cross-disciplinary, pioneering, and reshaping the meaning of urban; possibly migrating back in a new form to the West very soon.
[Footnote 1] Mitchell, William J. Me++ The Cyborg Self and the Networked City. (Cambridge: MIT Press. 2003) 68.
[Footnote 2] Williams, Ellen. “New Century Cities.” SA+P MIT School of Architecture and Planning. June 2005. 18 Jan 2010 <http://sap.mit.edu/resources/portfolio/new_century_cities/>