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AESOP-ACSP Joint Congress 15-19 July 2013 Dublin

TECHNOSPACE ECOLOGIES
Stephen Read TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture, s.a.read@tudelft.nl

Keywords: technoscience, space, scale; urban form; metageographies ABSTRACT Technoscience approaches in the philosophy of science suggest that the conventional priority of pure or theoretical science over applied technology must be reversed. It is, according to this view not pure science that leads applied technology but rather telescopes, microscopes and steam engines that come first and trigger the development of the theoretical sciences. This paper explores the idea that the spaces and scales of our geographies are not theoretical but technical constructions. These constructions constitute I argue are projects for metageographies spatial structures through which people order their knowledge of the world. They are both the geographies themselves and the organisational structures through which our practical knowledge and use of these is established combining and integrating their reality and physicality and our knowledge of them. Peter Taylor has followed Jane Jacobs in arguing that cities come first. I argue first however that the priority actually lies with the networks and show how networks must be considered organisers and producers of not just cities but all metageographical structures. Taylors world-city network provides a model that can be extended to these other structures that include nation, region and neighbourhood. Second, I argue that the systemic aspect of networks leads too much of the discussion about network and global cities, that the systematicity interior to any network is necessarily partial and the complexity and multivalency of real places is a product not just of networks but of the intersections of the different systemic logics of different networks. Networks constitute part-whole structures where the logic of the whole is reflected in a systemic coherence at that level while the part, which is itself a network at another level, is a complex product of the intersection of those levels. This leads to an understanding of what scale and level mean for our practical geographies. I conclude by pointing out that from an historical perspective the constructions of metageographies appear as successive projects of modernities (using Taylors version of this idea) and have involved massive public investments and state involvement. These successive modernities have each built on the past to construct their own sets of metageographical elements intersected together in and shaping particular modes of urbanisation. Human action in, and practical knowledge of the world, are mediated through these structures, replacing Bunges smooth sphere as the background spaces of human and political geography. We can use them to better understand (and model) urban and regional forms and urbanisation processes in ways that relate to human practice. We can use them to better understand and critique different modes and projects of urbanisation. Explication of the organisation of differently scaled centralities and of pedestrian, bicycle and other transportation zones for Smart City' research is just one of the other possible applications. 1 INTRODUCTION The residual objectivism of our geographies has been criticised often enough (Gleeson 2012). I suggest a root of the problem lies with our spaces, or our conception of them. I dont want to rehearse here a discussion of absolute, relative and relational spaces as this too has been done often enough. What we have still not managed to grasp is what a relational space is in its broadest characteristics and in its practical detail. I hope to go some way here to outlining a view on this.
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AESOP-ACSP Joint Congress 15-19 July 2013 Dublin

Geographical spaces are not just the spaces of geographies themselves, they are also the scaffolds of our understandings of them. We are not humans who incidentally live in a world we can separate from ourselves, we inhabit the spaces of the world and they become ours by virtue of us being here. Spaces are tied up with regimes of living as well as regimes of thinking (Osborne and Rose 2004) so that what we are doing, what we are thinking, and the way we frame actions and thoughts or what we are doing and thinking with become impossible to disentangle. In contemporary life the cartographic representation has established a stranglehold on our spatial imaginations to the extent that anything not thought through it tends to be regarded as subjective or imaginary as opposed to objective or real. As I have noted before, even the topologies of networks of places or of the processes of flows that feed those places as in Masseys or Castells conceptions of global spaces and places for example are imagined in an orthographic projection, against a cartographic background (see Massey 1994). Im not going to argue against cartographic representation, or against its reality for that matter, as I believe topologies and topographies are both necessary for understanding our geographic spaces; what I want to do is extend the scopes of reality and objectivity to encompass the spaces through which we act. These spaces, often regarded as mental, subjective and socially constructed, are just as real and even visceral as are those we see in our maps. Finding a way to find practice, action and thought in physicality would resolve the dualisms residually embedded in most of our conceptions of geographies and open ways to understand better the basic role our built environment plays in mediating our knowledge and activity. I will suggest here that things are available to our knowledge and action through the built environment more specifically through the way the built environment is organised. One of the basic ways our understanding of our environment is disrupted is by the idea we can know the world from the outside as if we were looking over it from an aeroplane or satellite as in Masseys well-known zoom in from the stratosphere. The assumption that orthographic projections represent reality, and that through them we see how things objectively are, is one we share with other disciplines like artificial intelligence. The idea that things are transparently present to us as if we could view them from above implies in fact a mediation by way of generic or unsituated realm of ideas. AI prioritises a cognitive (representationcomputation) model of our relation with the world (Agre 1997) and a model of knowledge which sees the world divided between corporeal and mental things. Peter Taylor pointed to this (1999a) by contrasting the view of Jean Gottmann (1951), who suggested that if the world was simply a smooth sphere there would be no need for the discipline of geography, with that of William Bunge (1973) who argued that with all the ephemeral detail out of the way the spatial laws of geography could operate transparently. The contrast is of a complex, organised material world on the one hand and an essentially rather simple celestial, divine or cerebral world on the other (see Stengers 1997). The main point here is that Bunges theory operates in an already formed ideal and absolute space (and time) whereas Gottmanns human and urban geography is an historical accretion of worldly spaces that I will try to elaborate further. The idea of organised complexity originating in our discipline with Jane Jacobs (1961) has led the work of a number of geographers including Taylor and Edward Soja (Soja 2000). I want to add to their insights by investigating what Jacobs complex spaces might be from her famous declaration that cities come first. I will suggest that what she really meant was that networks come first. Camel trails and shipping routes are not simply devices to facilitate access to already existing places, rather the things we think of and do like the town or city are actually effects of these networks. 2 GETTING BEYOND THEORY The priority of Bunges sort of theory has already been challenged on a number of fronts. Ian Hacking, taking his cue from some of mid-century French philosophy (notably Canguilhem and Bachelard) suggested that the microscope and the particle chamber played a
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substantive role in scientific experiment or discovery (Hacking 1983). These mere artefacts were not just observation devices; the products of experiment actually depended on their mediation through these devices. Patrick Heelan had also suggested that equipment produced rather than deduced results and that crucially, the scientist or observer was included as an integral factor of experiment through the mediation of equipment (Heelan 1977). Don Ihde suggested that it was as much the telescope as Galileo that discovered moon mountains (Ihde 2011). Rather than theory or pure science leading to development of applied sciences, technologies come first and trigger the development of the theoretical sciences (Ihde 1991). Today, such ideas are well known with philosophers like Hacking, Ihde, Peter Galison, and Bruno Latour emphasising the roles of visualisation, laboratories and equipment in the constitution of knowledge. In the philosophy of science, taking equipment and practice seriously suggests a move, according to Heelan and Ihde, towards a hermeneutical method where what is meaningful is what is made meaningful in an interpretive negotiation with the technical conditions and practices pertaining. Ihde speaks of a hermeneutics materialised and expanded beyond the hermeneutics of Dilthey (Ihde 1997). This technoscientific answer to the priority of theory resonates with a problem of nature we encounter today in a thoroughly technologised world (Mitcham 1995). We have tried previously to unfold this problem by understanding it in terms of a systematisation of knowledge in a new high-tech informational realm (Castells 1989; Lash 2002). However the technologising of our world is no new thing. We may update and re-technologise our world at regular intervals but the technological dimension is consistent over time at least over the time we have been human (De Boever et al. 2012). And there is something important in this for us. What the new technoscience perspective brings out is the environing of scientific discovery and knowledge in equipment and of a mediated seeing of things in the manipulated and prepared material and technological conditions that allow the objects specified to be seen. Scientific discovery and knowledge is conditional on the practice and the equipment involved. Thomas Kuhns community of practice (Kuhn 1962) has been expanded to include not just the human community of scientists but also the non-human equipment they use as coparticipants in scientific discovery. Beyond theory, the equipment tied to the routines and procedures of science become central to the objects of science to their very being for the community of scientists. There is a particular idea of environment embedded here which ties together a number of disparate strands in science, philosophy and the philosophy of science. On the one hand, in a philosophy of experimental science, we can see how the observer, rather than sitting outside the experiment, is enclosed within the bounds of and as part of the experiment as a manipulator of equipment and a producer of results. This was also the basic lesson also of Foucaults Panopticon where guard, prisoner and the pract ices and procedures of supervision are internal productions of a bounded equipment that shaped them and made them possible (Foucault 1977). Environment here is technical, practical specific, bounded and a whole world actively tied up with the activity and knowledge generated. The spacing of this can be seen in Jakob von Uexklls ecological view of environment. Uexkll had already proposed that subject or organism and environment constitute a closed couple productive of both (Uexkll 1957). Uexkll saw environment as being species specific and multiple as different creatures gathered together their own nests, eating places and pathways, and found the meaningful nooks and networks in which their lives were lived. Uexklls followers understand us and other organisms being indivisibly tied in biosemiotic relations with already meaningful worlds (Marks et al. 2009). Such a view suggests we construct these worlds that these worlds are in a very broad sense of the word technical. It suggests also these spaces matter fundamentally for the ways we know and do things that they are cultural. We are not simply human and social beings capable of producing and organising technics, we are also humanised and socialised in technics. Organised assemblages of interdependent objects subjects and practices support particular ways of life,

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AESOP-ACSP Joint Congress 15-19 July 2013 Dublin

particular cultures (Williams 1958) where everything necessary for that life and culture is held together in a world. Space is a worlding. Space is not the surround to a localised identity but the way identity is formed in the links made through a culturo-technically organised and maintained world. Henri Lefebvre referred to this worlding with his mondialisation which he opposed to globalisation. But Lefebvre and his precursors Marx and Kostas Axelos found it difficult to accept the integral role technology played in all this (Read et al. 2013). And surely other creatures manage without the technique? Well, Uexkll and his followers, follow for the most part creatures other than humans and show how these creatures environments are shaped to fit. Whole populations of creatures shift material and themselves, and, as I have remarked before: what is this if not technique; what is this if not culture? (Read 2012). The understanding I have just outlined can also be traced to the thinking of Alfred North Whitehead who influenced people like Conrad Waddington and Gregory Bateson and an epigenetic biological development thinking. This thinking re-emerges today in Stuart Kauffmans notions of the biosphere and the adjacent possibilities that determine the pathdependent processes through which environments form and transform (Kauffman 2000). 3 TOWARDS URBAN WORLDS I want to know more about how cities are implicated in the spaces of the environing of us human creatures. It may be that what cities do or what urbanisation does because these is evidence to suggest that not all unbanisation involves cities (Pomeranz 2000; Thomas 2010) is facilitate or structure our being in readily known worlds of readily known practices and cultures. Cities may be an effect of human and that means human-technological worlding or environing. We may be able to combine a human-technology interdependence with this idea of a multiplicity of self-made actively supportive environments to suggest a cocreation of particular knowledges and ways of life between the human and the particular culturo-technical or socio-technical world he or she happens to occupy. So much has already been suggested in a notion of organised complexity (Weaver 1948) of the built environment. Jane Jacobs invocation of this concept was in terms of a diverse mix of people and processes, organised in a web and organising itself in feedback loops (Jacobs 1961). What all this meant though was never very clearly articulated, but one of her followers, Peter Taylor has developed her thinking with his world-city network idea (2012). Taylors world-city networks are based on a idea from Jacobs of cities coming first and being connected in networks in a way that is fundamental and necessary to their very existence (Jacobs 1969). Networks are used elsewhere in thinking about cities, but Braudel, and later Taylor, developed a more historicised network logic of cities. Braudel saw these in terms of a succession of world-economies (Braudel 1984). Taylor built on this with his idea of a succession of modernities (Taylor 1999a), each of which represents a massive historical shift of forces (Braudel 1984:32) with concomitant shifts in the centre of worldeconomy and modernity from tentative beginnings in Venetian, Genoese, and Flemish spheres of hegemony, to Amsterdam, to London and to New York. These world-economies are global, and progressively more so, have a unified division and reintegration of labour in the network and accumulation processes stretched between its always more advanced, historically enlarging, and geographically shifting core and its always less advanced, disproportionately enlarging, and geographically shifting periphery. Hopkins (1982:11). Articulating world-economies and modernities are a succession of world-city networks, and the constitution of these networks is also interesting. In the network world and city stand in mutually constitutive relations with one another. However these networks are complex and their constituents and processes multiple so that the relations of part and whole implied in the world-city are also multiple and complex. Discussions about systems tend to deemphasise this complexity and the multivalency of processes in which Venetian hegemony was a result of commercial and naval power, while Genoas was based on finance, and Antwerp was a market for merchants from different networks (Slater 2004:593). Early world-economies were
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a patchy and uncertain affair, and only with the rise of Amsterdam did capitalism become a reasonably coherent series of world-economies, each with a new urban centre concentrating flows of economic life and progressing to (near) hegemony before being overturned by the next (Slater 2004:593). Slater goes on to argue against an over-strict global systematicity of Sassens model of a trinity of powerful global cities formed in response to a global hegemony, and to reemphasise history and variations in structure in the past and present of the global city (Slater 2004:605). Peter Hall (1966) has also emphasised the multivalency of world-cities with different attributes of politics, trade, communications, finance, culture, technology and higher education placing different world-cities of London, Paris, RandstadHolland, Rhine-Ruhr, Moscow, New York and Tokyo at the top of world-city hierarchies (Hall, 1966). Although today there is some discussion, especially from critics (for example Robinson, 2002) about what is included and not included in the system, in world- and global city networks the system tends to form a closed field that determines the outcome, neglecting patterns of being in or out of the system that I will highlight. Some see the network of global cities taking on a different, more abstract global character today (), and there is an assertion by some () and a presumption by others that a globality and global hegemony have been achieved. The difference implicit in a global cities view and a world cities view reflects the difference between Henri Lefebvres notions of globalisation and mondialisation (Read et al. 2013), mondialisation emphasising the becoming world of worlds and globalisation emphasising a more absolute global condition. I would like to stay with the more historical view, emphasising also the historical contingency, flexibility and multivalency of todays global network. As a more historical and contingent process we could also understand networks integrating processes of economy, culture and society at other levels altogether and defining national, regional and urban worlds and progressing historically to (near) hegemony in their turn. But, the attention to the systematicity of networks and the absolute of the globe with universals like distance and scale implied has kept attention away from the structural effects of relations between networks. This is also true in the world-city discourse where peripheralisation for example is a systematic effect of the network and what is lost is the peripheralisation that is an effect simply of being out of the network. Lost is the way interrelationships between networks may be a systematic means to bringing different systematicities different logics together for the complex processes that can never be reduced to one system or one network. What I will suggest is that hierarchy, normally understood as a product of a centre-to-periphery gradient within networks, could be a seen as a relation between networks expressed as levels. While there is no argument that urban networks internalise systemic logics, these systems are also historical they and their logics are products of construction, adjustment, politicking and negotiation over time. We could think of systematisations being built in networks into a fragmented world in order to establish coherence across different ranges and scopes of human activity. Systematisation here implies construction not as social construction but as building and as Bruno Latour argues, these constructions are artefacts, but their status as artefacts does not make them any less real (Latour 2003). Systematisation even implies partiality because it is not the whole of human affairs that is systematised in any one network but only that part related to the business, scope and logics of the network itself. What is systematised will be the attributes and characters of a world we integrate in highly selective ways through the networks we construct. These attributes and characters are also of the way we live in these worlds and will be naturalised as part of a way of life as they become hegemonic in the network. The world of the world-city network is just one of these hegemonic naturalised worlds. Jonathan Israel has argued that while Amsterdam was building its hegemonic worldeconomy it was simultaneously drawing on the dynamism of an earlier construction of a coherent system of waterways covering most of the cities in Holland, Zeeland and Friesland, at something approaching what was to become the national scale. This network interlinked
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different urban economies and facilitated the rapid circulation of goods and passengers between cities (Israel, 2002:xxx). This complicates Amsterdams world-economic network in an interesting way. Amsterdam was no longer acting simply as a city at the centre of its world-city network, but as a node at the intersection of two networks, one of them a network of Dutch cities more coordinated and coherent than there was to be found anywhere else in Europe at the time (Israel 2002:16). Israel argues for the creativity of this intersection between a proto-national-city network and a world-city network as across this intersection flowed not just money and people, but knowledge and other creative assets developed in cities like Leyden and Haarlem for example. The United Provinces lacked many of the attributes of a modern state, but, according to Braudel it certainly cannot be said that the Dutch government was non-existent (Braudel 1984;193-5;205). There were considerable organisational structures set up in these early modern networks of economy and government and what this sort of structure emphasises is the crossing of different economies of money, people and knowledge in these cross-valency, cross-scalar relations at the point of intersection. In order to articulate this idea of network organisation and the articulation of different valencies it is necessary to differentiate the simplicity of different networks built and converging historically to a state of being (near) generic levels and the complexity of the cross-valency products of their intersections. The simplicity I am referring to concerns the establishment here, with different networks, of structures built for intelligibility (knowledge) as much as for anything else. These structures, which are constructions, have a metageographic (Lewis & Wigen 1997) role and character, establishing geographic and geo-political entities like world and nation in the example above. These are human constructions that are the material and objective world in which we act they are, like other technologies and apparatus, onto-epistemological structures that problematise our Cartesian dualities (Read 2012). We can treat the intersection of world network and nation network in Amsterdam as an intersection of two levels of human geographical action and knowledge, producing opportunities and demand for complex work and divisions of labour in the emerging city. This construction is historical and system in terms I will develop further shortly. Amsterdams urbanisation and identity is a creative product of this intersection. It is not so much connected as established in these networks. Networks are not accessibility devices, they are devices through which cities are defined and produced. 4 OTHER LEVELS AND SCALES OF WORLDING Cities are produced not in abstract universal spaces superimposed on a smooth globe but in concrete infrastructural grids of networked and isotopic things. Grids of shipping routes and of inland waterways produce spaces of normative and normatively similar isotopic things like cities. They produce them as topologies and at a political-geographical and metageographical level, but none of this is idealisation and all of it can be found back on the ground (or water). In teaching this my exemplary case is the London Underground. The topological link between Shepherds Bush and Acton can be found back in real lines engineered into the skein of engineered networks that is London. As this example indicates, normative, constructed, metageographical things besides cities have been established in networks: neighbourhoods for example. Again the way we historicise this is critical. The industrial period of the Western European city was also the time of the emergence of public transportation. This systematised mode of movement could be traced through a grid of mainstreets we can clearly distinguish from a more general grid of urban walking and backstreets in European industrial city fabric (Read 2013). This alerts us to the relatively higher level of scale and publicness of this mainstreet network. This difference is reflected in relatively higher rates and ranges of movement in the more public role of the grid. The exemplary case is of course Haussmanns Paris, where the strategy of driving a joined up network of boulevards through the urban fabric to open it to
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city-wide traffic was also used to connect emblematic public buildings and railway stations. This city-level network defined a public face and world of the city that stood in contrast to the quiet streets joined with it, defining a more intimate neighbourhood world.
Figure 1. Amsterdams more modest Haussmannisation

Image: Jorge Gil

In Amsterdam the mainstreet grid connects neighbourhoods in a city-wide network. But it also establishes the face and distributes the elements of the city for people in the city. It connects therefore the city with neighbourhoods in a direct way, carrying city-level buildings and functions and connecting these with the world of the neighbourhood in the backstreet grid. These levels and their respective worlds are each integrations of economy, society and political or governance by level. They underpin and differentiate distinct regimes of community and governance, regimes that were originally characteristic of the industrial city. There are issues of space and scale embedded here but no trace of an idealised abstraction of these concepts. The grids themselves are concrete abstractions (Hegel; Lefebvre), concretely defining levels along with their spaces and scales. They are also a very different way of spatialising these levels to the way we have been accustomed.
Figure 2. Areal definition of inside-outside relations

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Image: Jingya Wang

Figure 3. Network definition of inside outside relations

We can add these levels to the world network and the nation network I mentioned earlier. Our historical construction of levels now consists of world-city network, nation-city network, mainstreet network and backstreet or neighbourhood network. Again, these levels are not abstract but realise the metageographic entities they produce. This reality is readily mappable. Some implications for the more general discussion of level and scale are now clearer. Scale is often thought of as size, but in urban thinking it has also been used to distinguish what we could call levels of analysis. However, what these levels are is often not very clearly understood or articulated. In fact, the ontological status of scales has been contested with many warning against their reification (Agnew 1993) and some believing they dont exist as anything real at all (Marston et al. 2005). What I have described however is clearly something more than level of analysis, abstraction or metaphor. David Prytherch contributes a reality check, pointing to Wal-Marts geography of big things [given in] the outsized spatiality of the big box and the global commodity chains in which it is embedded (Prytherch 2002:xxx). From an infrastructural perspective Wal-Marts global operations depend on a tightly coordinated sociotechnical organisation, in which goods, people and
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machines are distributed and scheduled. The space-time of this organisation is this distribution and scheduling, which is maintained by managerial, administrative and technical operatives who enact complex sequences and interconnections and guarantee the material and informational transactions that flow across it. Like any strategic construction, this one is maintained, and any breakdown of this space-time is met by a remedial response. But, I would argue, the scale in Wal-Marts geography of big things is something this sociotechnical system inherits from another more generic network metageography into which Wal-Marts global operations are, and must be, fitted. It is this more generic geography that world-city networks, waterways and mainstreets have pointed us to. Prytherch still suggests however that hierarchies of scale may inhere more in a territorialized imaginary in political geography than scale itself (Prytherch xxx) suggesting to me that at least a part of the scale problem concerns a difficulty we have understanding how our sociotechnically constructed worlds are at the same time objective and epistemological in an equipmental nexus that is set up to support and even produce both. The world produced is both real and constructed, incorporating organisation and embedding knowledge about that world. The construction I have described is clearly not a nested hierarchy of bounded spaces of differing size, such as the local, regional, national and global (Delaney & Leitner 1997:93). I showed how our conventional understanding of the spatialisation of cities and neighbourhoods by a diagram of nested areas needs to be supplemented by another diagram of overlaid grids. Space is no longer defined in bounded entities at all but in actual technical infrastructures representing and enacting grids of metageographic levels and places. Levels and scales inhere in the grids themselves, through the places enacted and known in them. Through these grids we can understand nested hierarchies of neighbourhoods, cities, regions, nations, and the world as given in these. This verticality is scale as we understand and live it in our everyday lives. We dont deal with a continuous reality which is then broken into distinctive discontinuous entities by our epistemological processes, rather the discontinuities are constructed at an ontological level so that they exist in the world. Grids are onto-epistemological the very existence of neighbourhoods or cities as we know these things is tied up with grids, while it is through grids that we know the metageographies concerned. Grids are not ways to connect already existing things, they are a condition of things existence. Networks do indeed come first! This condition is tied to some hard objective factors like the material form and organisation of these grids both in themselves and in their relations with others. The difficulties we have with these forms of knowledge-existence has to do with the way they problematise our categorical ontology-epistemology distinctions (Read 2012). 5SOCIETIES IN EQUIPMENTAL NEXUS These grids or infrastructures are not just technique, they are the basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society (Edwards, 2003:187). Paul Edwards also makes the point negatively, defining infrastructure as those systems without which contemporary societies cannot function (Edwards, 2003:187). The systems here are precisely those pervasive, naturalised, relatively low-tech socio-technics without which urban societies throughout history could not have functioned. Infrastructures are sociotechnical in nature and deliver social organisation consisting of socially communicated background knowledge, general acceptance and reliance, and near-ubiquitous accessibility (Edwards, 2003:xxx). The dont just give us systemic, societywide control over the variability inherent in the natural environment (Edwards, 2003:xxx) they also organise things into a distinct modern world, delivering capacities that have themselves become naturalised and standards of comfort unknown outside such a world. Infrastructural knowledge is an internally related self-contextualising whole, a Wittgensteinian form of life (Wittgenstein 1958), in which the different elements and practices in the network make sense by virtue of their mutual interrelationships in a sort of cultural or life paradigm.
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Here we understand the notion of paradigm in the relational sense Thomas Kuhn uses it; as a set of practices (and associated material elements) that bind a community of practice (Kuhn 1962). In this sense infrastructures integrate the practices and elements of a community or society and become environment to them. To live within the multiple, interlocking infrastructures of modern societies is to know ones place in gigantic system s that both enable and constrain us (Edwards 2003:191). Building infrastructures has been constitutive of the modern condition, in almost every conceivable sense. At the same time, ideologies and discourses of modernism have helped define the purposes, goals, and characteristics of those infrastructures. In other words, the co-construction of technology and modernity can be seen with exceptional clarity in the case of infrastructure (Edwards 2003:191). The idea of sociotechnical infrastructures can start to explain the relation between the prime modernities of Taylor and the systems they depend on. System or infrastructure builders like Thomas Edison require multiple technical components as well as social, cultural and economic factors to work together for a complex system to work (Hughes 1987). Infrastructures are not simply technology expanded and it is not simply railway engines or motor cars that change the course of modern life. Infrastructures are tightly organised integrations of multiple social, cultural, economic and technical factors and components. These integrations have real presences in the world, with distributions, scopes, ranges, transparency or intelligibility, public access points, protected technical zones and designed and undesigned or colateral effects. They work like Patrick Heelans experimental equipment, producing results. We could understand these as sociotechnical spaces (Read, 2012) which operate at every level of urban societies including, but not limited to the worldeconomy. World or global infrastructures are not the only ones operative in any prime modernity, there are also infrastructures at national levels, many at urban levels, supporting basic daily patterns and relations of our cities, and many more at levels above and below this. In fact, there are a multiplicity of infrastructures supporting modern economies, cultures and societies. These infrastructures dont exist in a transparent, frictionless preexisting or absolute space. They are themselves spatial and scalar, existing in, supporting, and supported and even shaped by, a multiplicity of geographical levels that relate to different ways of life and communities of practice. These levels give ranges and scopes to economies, cultures and societies, from those of world-economies, cultures and societies, to others at regional, national, urban and other levels. These levels also interrelate in order that the whole complexity of production, consumption and other processes that animate modern life become operational. Light bulbs and telephones connect with electric reticulation and telephone lines, meter reading and billing systems, but they also link with the cities and neighbourhoods of houses which preceded them and into which they were initially installed. Railway engines and motor cars connect with tracks, stations and modern highways, but they connect also with the networks of cities that preceded them. These spaces dont just equip us to do things, they equip us in a world already legible and distributed in networks. 6 METAGEOGRAPHICAL PROJECTS OF MODERNITY In many cases, certainly when it comes to railways and highway systems, their spaces reinforce these legible spaces and make them even more legible. They incorporate and embed the places and the logics of the relations of places to enable us to see the world better at different levels or scales and to act in it at these levels and scales. The kinds of infrastructures that embed places also embed, as networks organised in levels, the logics of places relations with each other. Through them we understand our territories and our places in them and through them other sociotechnical networks are woven. A relatively low-tech, socio-tech, network of known and named places has preceded the contemporary mobility and information revolutions and it is through this other network logic that new network logics of modern travel and communication and social and business organisation is still mediated.
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But what has been prioritised and made legible, and in what socio-technical framing, is a vital question. In Braudels succession of world-economies and Taylors succession of modernities, these framings shift from the one historical phase to the next. These worldshifts combined also with urban and regional projects of particular times. I have shown the significance of the proto-national city network Amsterdam was part of. The industrial period of the Western European city saw the expansion of the city and profound changes in production and consumption logics and logistics. Walter Benjamin for example has described a new urban speed and scale. The urban grids, trams and metro systems, characteristic of this period were a project of restructuring and rescaling carried out with enormous public investment to open new areas for urbanisation and investment (Harvey 2006). I have already mentioned Haussmanns Paris, where the city-level network supported new logics, logistics and image of the city and an urbanisation of urban mainstreets, boulevards and neighbourhoods. This pre-second world war mode of urbanisation was structured differently to the car-based urbanisation. Whereas the neighbourhoods and centres of industrial urbanisation were distributed on, and oriented towards, the boulevards and public transportation networks within the industrial city, those built after the war were distributed on and oriented towards inter-city commuter highways and railways. Here the emblematic case is the New Deal highway building of the United States. Although the motorcar was a feature of urban life before the middle of the twentieth century, it was not until after the second world war that it became a mode of everyday mass transportation, and the specific transportation networks associated with this mass transportation mode began to be systematically built (Schipper 2008; Berman 1982), while these new grids attracted and attached themselves to new technologies a motorcar affordable to most people and a new suburban way of life. The new urban structure here involved retrofitting an industrial city and intercity connections into new metropolitan configurations and here the emblematic cases were Robert Moses New York and Abercrombies London. The highway, the motorcar and suburban living joined together in a socio-technical complex way of life much as the urban grid, public transportation and industrial neighbourhood living had 50 to 100 years previously. The post-war intercity building corresponded again with a new speed and scale of the city as the city grew to metropolitan size. This again involved massive public investment which opened up new territories for urbanisation and investment (Harvey 1985). Urbanisation proceeds as a series of large projects we can associate with moments of overaccumulation and crisis in the history of capitalism. These crises provoke responses which open new opportunities and new territories for development and we can associate these, according to world systems theorists (Arrighi 2006), with phases of the development of capitalism. Harvey has already suggested the need for each of these rescalings was provoked by a crisis in capitalism and that we can characterise these projects as spatial fixes (Harvey 2001). 7 CONCLUSION We have had difficulty finding the shapes of our societies and territories in absolute spaces and abstract or universal conceptions of distance and scale. Neither societies nor territories are continuous but where to put the point of the knife to prise significant differences apart has not been clear. An archaeological conception of material culture joins with Heideggers hermeneutics in having non-human social stuff distributed to-hand around the actor. We see stuff distributed in human environments in intelligible arrangements in which material and our knowledge of that material are not separated but entwined in these sorts of material organisation themselves. Humans have managed to create multiple forms of life and the way they have done this is by forming multiple spaces technologically, as social and technical worlds, within which objects subjects and actions (things, knowledge and practices) are internally regulated. And these spaces are constrained by and connected to a set of concrete geographical structures which is the basic structure of territories. The organisation is in the form of networks, which I have called grids. These are not devices for transmitting flows so much as for distributing places. Grids and places join in mutually
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constitutive arrangements so that places like cities or neighbourhoods depend on the grid and networks come first. The way humans parse the world in knowledge, in terms of scale or level, and the global, national, regional, urban, neighbourhood or domestic worlds these imply, is already built into the world, not to be seen in orthographic projection but as a topology of layered grids that are strategically intersected to form complex real places at the intersections. These metageographical constructions appear as successive projects of modernity which have involved massive public investments and state involvement. These successive modernities have each built on the past to construct their own sets of metageographical elements intersected together in and shaping particular modes of urbanisation. The notion of region not to mention that of scale begins to be rather concretely defined. We exist in a topological structure of normative entities articulated in concretely formed network spaces that are rather clearly and strictly structured. It is within this structured constraint that the degrees of freedom in which we do things and find alternatives and make choices are played out. This is a long way off the transparent accessibility space of the orthographic projection but this is the space or these are the spaces of our human geographical and urban knowledge and action. It is not too much to say that it is in this topography that our regions and cities are structured and formed. The sorts of power inhering in all this has its principle not so much in a person as in a certain concerted distribution of bodies, surfaces, lights, gazes; in an arrangement whose internal mechanisms produce the relation in which individuals are caught up" (Foucault 1977:202). REFERENCES Agnew, J. (1993): Representing Space: space, scale and culture in social science. In: place/culture/representation. eds: J. Duncan & D. Ley, Routledge, London and New York, 251-271 Agre, P.E. (1997) Computation and Human Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Arrighi, G. (2004). Spatial and Other "Fixes" of Historical Capitalism. Journal of WorldSystems Research, 10(2), pp. 526-. Berman M. (1982) All that is solid melts into air. New York: Penguin. Braudel (1984) Civilization and Capitalism, 15th18th Century. Vol. 3, The Perspective of the World, trans. by Sian Reynolds. New York: Harper & Row. Bunge, W. (1973) The Geography. Professional Geographer 25, pp. 331-37. Castells, M. (1989) The Informational City: Information Technology, Economic Restructuring, and the Urban Regional Process (Oxford: Blackwell). De Boever, A., A. Murray, J. Roffe, A. Woodward, eds. (2012) Gilbert Simondon: Being and Technology. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press). Delaney, D., H. Leitner, (1997) The political construction of scale. Political Geography 16(2), 93-97. Edwards P.N. (2003) Infrastructure and Modernity: Force, Time, and Social Organisation in the History of Sociotechnical Systems in Modernity and technology / ed. T.J. Misa, P. Brey & A. Feenberg pp. 185-225.
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Foucault, M. (1977), Discipline and Punish: the birth of the prison. trans. Alan Sheridan, (London Penguin Books). Gleeson, B. (2012) Critical Commentary. The Urban Age : Paradox and Prospect Urban Studies 49 pp. 931-943 Gottmann, J. (1951) Geography and international relations. World Politics 3, pp. 153-73. Hacking, I. (1983) Representing and Intervening: introductory topics in the philosophy of natural science. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Hall, P. (1966) The World Cities London: Heinemann Harvey, D. (1985). The Geopolitics of Capitalism. In: Gregory, D., J. Urry (eds.) Social Relations and Spatial Structures, (London: Palgrave Macmillan) pp. 128-163. Harvey, D. (2001) Globalization and the spatial fix Geographische Revue, 2, 23-30. Harvey, D. (2006) The political economy of public space in: S. Low & N. Smith (eds.) The Politics of Public Space (London; Routledge) Heelan, P. (1977) Hermeneutics of experimental science in the context of the life-world. In: D. Ihde, R.M. Zaner, (eds.) Interdisciplinary Phenomenology. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff). Hopkins, T.K. 1982 The Study of the Capitalist World-Economy: Some Introductory Considerations. Pp. 9-38 in T.K. Hopkins, I. Wallerstein and Associates, World-Systems Analysis: Theory and Methodology. Beverly Hills, London, New Delhi: Sage Publications. Hughes, T.P. 1983. Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 18801930. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press. Hughes, T.P. 1987. The Evolution of Large Technological Systems, in W. Bijker, T. Pinch, and T. Hughes, eds. The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, pp. 5182. Ihde, D., 1991. Instrumental Realism: the interface between philosophy of science and philosophy of technology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Ihde, D. (1997) Thingly hermeneutics/ Technoconstructions, Man and World 30 pp. 369381. Ihde, D. (2011) Husserls Galileo Needed a Telescope! In: Philosophy & Technology 24(1) pp. 69-82. Israel, J.I. (2002) The conditions for creativity, prosperity and stability in the cities of the Dutch Golden Age, in Generating Culture: Roots and Fruits. The Hague: Deltametropool / Ministerie van VROM (Forum)). Jacobs, J. (1961) The death and life of great American cities. (New York: Penguin). Jacobs J, (1969) The economy of cities. (New York: Vintage). Kauffman, S. (2000) Investigations (New York: Oxford University Press).
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Kuhn, T. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Second edition 1970. Lash, S.M. (2002). Critique of Information. (London: Sage). Latour, B. (2003) The promises of constructivism in D. Idhe & E. Selinger (eds.) Chasing Technoscience: Matrix of Materiality. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). Lewis, M.W. & K.E. Wigen (1997). The Myth of Continents. A Critique of Metageography. (Berkeley-Los Angeles: University of California Press). Marks, A., F. Grygar, L. Hajnal, K. Kleisner, Z. Kratochvl, Z. Neubauer (2009) Life as Its Own Designer: Darwins Origin and Western Thought. (Dordrecht: Springer). Marston, S., Jones III, J. P., and Woodward, K., (2005) Human geography without scale. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Vol. NS 30, 416-432. Massey, D. (1994) A Global Sense of Place in D. Massey, Space, Place and Gender (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Mitcham, C. (1995) Notes Toward a Philosophy of Meta-Technology. Philosophy & Technology 1(1&2) pp. Osborne, T. & N. Rose (2004) Spatial phenomenotechnics: making space with Charles Booth and Patrick Geddes, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 22, pp. 209-22 Pomeranz, K. (2000) The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Prytherch, D.L. (2007) Urban Geography with Scale: Rethinking Scale via Wal-Marts Geography of Big Things Urban Geography, 2007, 28, 5, pp. 456-482. Read, S.A. (2009) Another form: From the Informational to the Infrastructural City, Footprint 5 pp. 5-22 Read, S.A. (2012) Meaning and material: phenomenology, complexity, science and adjacent possible cities in: J. Portugali, E. Tan & E. Stolk (eds.), Complexity Theories of Cities have come of Age (Dordrecht: Springer) pp. 105-127. Read, S.A., M. Lukkassen & T. Jonauskis (2013) Revisiting Complexification, Technology and Urban Form in Lefebvre, Space & Culture. Online first. Read, S.A. (2012b) The space in space syntax: technical architectures of human action Robinson, J. (2002) Global and world cities: A view from off the map International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 26(3) pp. 531-554 Sassen, S. (1991) The global city. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. Schipper, F. (2008) Driving Europe. Building Europe on roads in the twentieth century, Amsterdam: Foundation for the History of Technology & Aksant Academic Publishers.

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Slater, E. (2004) The flickering global city, Journal of World-Systems Research, x(3), pp. 591608 Soja, E. (2000) Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions. (Oxford: Blackwell). Star, S.L. & Ruhleder, K. (1996). Steps toward an ecology of infrastructure: Design and access for large information spaces. Information Systems Research, 7(1), pp. 111-134. Stengers, I. (1997) Power and Invention: Situating Science (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Taylor, P.J., 1999a. Places, spaces and Macys: place-space tensions in the political geography of modernities. Progress in Human Geography 23(1) pp. 7-26 Taylor, P.J., 1999b. Modernities: a geohistorical interpretation. (Cambridge: Polity Press). Taylor, P.J. (2012) Extraordinary Cities: Early City-ness and the Origins of Agriculture and States, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36(3) pp. 415-47 Thomas, A.R. (2010) The Evolution of the Ancient City. (Lanham MD: Lexington Books). Uexkull, J. von (1957). A Stroll through the Worlds of Animals and Men. In C. Schiller (ed.), Instinctive Behavior, (New York, International Universities Press). Weaver, W. (1948). Science and complexity, American Scientist, 36 pp. 536-544. Williams, R. (1958) Culture and Society, 1780-1950. (London: Chatto and Windus). Wittgenstein, L. 1958. Philosophical Investigations. New York: Macmillan.

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