Behind the scenes
The invention of perspective and the camera obscura in the 15th century influenced the design of cities during the subsequent centuries. Large avenues were opened throughout cities like Rome and Paris, or created ex novo in Washington, in order to adapt to the new way of looking around. Similarly, the rise of electronic communication is shaping the cities of today. If the concept of place had been historically defined as the reference point that allowed for human interaction and the building of identities, our growing addiction to spurious virtual lives will make this dimension of place ultimately disposable. New dwellings in the shape of warrens are built with little consideration towards location as architects resign from their social function in providing meaning to the built environment. At best, some neighbourhoods are chosen to represent the city in the storefront of the global market where spectacular buildings have to compete in shape and form with their own virtual render. Of course, these iconic structures are built, not so much for their spaces to be used, but for the consumption of their image. As real places disappear and turn scarce, their trading value increases, and become touristic historic cities or natural parks. The simple act of walking down the street becomes a commodity to be consumed and the fact of “being from somewhere”, a luxury item that one will have to pay for.