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Brook, R., Dunn, N., 2014.

Between planning and network, the evolution of infrastructural architecture

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:RGS IBG Annual International Conference 2014
Venue:Royal Geographic Society, London
Dates:26/8/2014 - 29/8/2014

This paper will address the critical use of the term network from an architectural perspective. The network is conventionally perceived as an intangible and non-physical presence. Therefore, the networked city is not a series of disconnected flows or an accumulation of cloud based data, but it is software that requires its own hardware to perform in the ethereal ways demanded of it by the citizen i.e. telecommunications and digital technologies rely on built form to support them. This paper will challenge the idea of infrastructures as untethered and use the theories of landscape urbanism, which views the city as a continuous field, and the networked city to understand the production of infrastructural architecture and its order in the contemporary city. In this way, the on-the-ground conditions and equipment needed to enable seemingly boundless connectivity, for example a Wifi network, will be explained in terms of its architectural presence, for example One Wilshire in Los Angeles. The inability to offer the plug and play evolutionary architecture so favoured by various utopian schemes suggests an awkward mediation between regulation and systems. The position of infrastructure will be re-examined not simply as a collection of tangible fixed elements but as a series of architecturally integrated systems that may enable feedback between the planning and the networks of the city.