Protocols Don't Build Pyramids

Originally published at: Protocols Don't Build Pyramids - Summer of Protocols

The built environment embodies an inherent conflict: The “software” of the city changes faster than the “hardware.” Even at its most flexible and adaptable, the city’s physical infrastructure is rigid in comparison to the information flows that it channels, which assume forms such as money, culture, social interaction, and even people themselves. As a middle…

It occurs to me that high-speed rail projects are the closest thing to protocol pyramids these days.

Not sure how to put this, but it seems to me that there isn’t only a conflict between “hardware”/the physical infrastructure and “software”/information flows, because they operate on different times.

It seems like in some cities (especially in 3rd world/developing countries) cities, or at least some layers, are drifting apart. At least in the information flow layer, maybe also in the physical layer.

Take a city like Nairobi. It feels like several (2?) cities in one.
You have richer people, driving around in Ubers (safe) and hopping from one “secure” island to another (office building, mall, gated compound/apartment), often without engaging with much of the cities besides those islands.

And you have the other people. Using public transport - ish, actually walking the roads and stuff.

They all occupy the same space but are nevertheless quite segregated.