City of Bits

by William J. Mitchell

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

"We are all cyborgs now. Architects and urban designers of the digital era must begin by re-theorizing the body in space" (28). This quote embodies Mitchell thesis in City of Bits (published in 1996). On the one hand, humans benefit tremendously from the new virtual space; however, these circumstances have also transformed us.

"I gaze from my window at the Nike-shod cyborgs on Memorial Drive. Their meat feat slap the surface of the solid world; their Walkman-augmented ears suck in signals from the virtual. Part- human, part-electronic jogging Januses, they have it two ways at once. Their bouncing bodies span different domains of existence" (33).

This quote demonstrates Mitchell's consideration not only of the virtual mechanisms by which humans and their experiences have been transformed, but also the intersection of the physical and the virtually-augmented elements of human experience.

"So the social superglue of necessary proximity between performers and audience is losing is old stickiness, and the traditional architectural types and social conventions (going to the theater, cheering fro your lcoal team in the ballpark) that we associate with the performance are becoming unstuck. Speech, music scenes, and text can now be transmuted int bits and entered into the network almost anywhere" (65).

This quote demonstrates Williams' observations about how the time-sensitivity of traditional communication, specifically entertainment, has been transformed.

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