Case Study – cellular infrastructure

We have reached a point in the development of the city where the individual has supplanted physical territory as the dominant form of urban identity. The will of the individual now determines the city’s urban plan and its boundaries. As Albert Pope has stated: “The contemporary urban environment is composed and recomposed by each individual everyday around literal and virtual itineraries, and not in relation to a fixed arrangement of places." The traditional city of solid and voids has disappeared, to be taken over by a meshwork of interactions. In fact, in cities like Los Angeles where the physical boundaries have become so expansive and invisible, it is often the telephone area codes that mark the psychic boundaries of the city. Like the individual who has a post office box in Beverly Hills for the prestigious 90210 zip code, we are also seeing call forwarding in order to capture the perception of being in the “city”. Los Angeles’ transformation from the center dominating form of the 19th century, to a homogenized network of connections, or individual itineraries, has become a consistent development within post war urbanism. By cutting through the layers of infrastructure that have built Los Angeles over the last 50 years we will be able to better understand the present and future form of the modern city.

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