I’d like to see how many people would be ready too try a personal tele-portation service – especially if Microsoft have anything to do with it – much the same as peoples lack of faith in pilotless planes and driverless cars, only we enter another level of abstraction here – Star Trek’s “Beam me up Scotty” could lead to a permanent case of being “Lost in Translation” – as in Dante’s Purgatory -literally.
On the issue of borders still being relevant – how do you feel about the concept of an Urban Edge policy, such as that of the City of Cape Town, which is designed to reduce sprawl , protect farmlands and pristine environments from encroachment, but is under stress from developers and squatters alike?
It is said that when Romulus and Remus began the process of founding the ancient city of Rome, they first delineated the pomerium, the sacred boundary of the city. Using a heavy plow, they would press down lines in the tall grass to designate this boundary. Where there was to be a road entering the city, they carried—‘portare’, in Latin—the plow to create a space along the boundary. Thus, the word ‘portal’, meaning a door, gate, or entrance, was born into our lexicon. The portal and the boundary have since maintained this symbiotic relationship.
Though this boundary was merely a symbolic one, the brick and mortar walls that surrounded Rome were soon to follow. We may now look back on this practice and see nothing more than an abstract ritual, but we, too, find ourselves in changing times struggling to impose order on the world around us.
Whether around cities or nations, borders today, though sometimes represented physically, are also inherently abstract, and this limitation results in their being expensive to maintain, inefficient and burdened down by bureaucratic red-tape. Consequently, they often fail, and almost always introduce impediments to efficiency and productivity that otherwise would not exist. With increasing globalization and distances being rendered null and void by technology, borders—at least their physical forms—will in the future, become a thing of the past.
With more people now living in urban environments for the first time in human history, we have a tremendous opportunity to harness the productive capacity of a city. Money saved from no longer maintaining physical boundaries could be better spent on developing the urban fabric of future cities. High density, multi-functional spaces, and interconnectivity are paramount. Investing in renewable energies as well as innovative food sources would further the autonomy of the city.
Lastly, cities must keep a beat ahead of the overarching trend discussed, which is the continued abstraction of the world around us. For example, once scientists figure out how to instantly teleport more than a quantum state, i.e. people, across distances, cities all over the world better be ready for the next phase of portal evolution and what it means for the continued dissolution of boundaries.