Past Events

Making Sense of the Urban Spectrum: Valuation, Agglomeration and Location of Wireless Technologies

Sean Gorman
January 29th, 2002

At current growth rates, the number of wireless subscribers will surpass that of fixed telephones in the middle of this decade. This fundamental shift in telecommunications has caused a profound effect on information infrastructure, and provided new tools for regional analysis. Since wireless technologies transmit through the electromagnetic spectrum, a public good, auctions are held in many countries for broadcast rights. Auctions provide an economic valuation of regions by private industry for the implementation of a technology. The auction values of a region provide a new insight into how emerging technologies are affecting the urban hierarchy of regions. This paper will examine FCC auction and infrastructure data to determine what regional factors could be driving differences in auction values and wireless infrastructure investments. Results will be analyzed to examine the extent to which these factors could be responsible for attracting technology infrastructure investment to a region and how those factors influence the economic value placed on a region by private industry. In addition, the paper will examine if wireless infrastructure is decentralizing telecommunications agglomeration from the current hierarchy of services in cities.

Click here for the full paper (pdf)


Wiring Rural India: Bringing Information
Technology to Developing Countries

Aditya Dev Sood
September 26th, 2001


"The mobile telephone is a big part of my life":
Mobile telephony in Norway

Richard Ling
Telenor Corporation, Norway
April 20, 2001

Data shows that Scandinavia leads the world in the ownership and use of mobile telephony. For example, as many as 90% of some teen groups have a mobile telephone. They are used to coordinate everyday actives, provide a type of security but perhaps most important for the teens they provide them with access to peers. This seminar will describe both the diffusion but perhaps more importantly the motivations for the use of mobile telephone use in Norway. Ling, who is a sociologist, will describe the current situation and also look into how the mobile telephone is changing society in Norway.


Living Networked in a Wired World:
Physical Place and Cyber Place

Barry Wellman
University of Toronto
March 22, 2001


Information and the Urban Future

February 26, 2001

A special meeting to precede the Association of American Geographers' 2001 Annual Meeting in New York City

Click here for the Proceedings


Edgeless Cities:
Exploring the Elusive Metropolis

Rob Lang
Director of Urban and Metropolitan Research
Fannie Mae Foundation
December 13, 2000

Edgeless cities, a form of sprawling office development that never reaches the densities or cohesiveness of edge cities, account for the bulk of office space found outside of downtowns. Among the nation's largest office markets, they nearly double edge cities in size. This study looks at the evolving geography of office space in 13 of the nation's largest markets, which together contain over 2.6 billion square feet of office space and 26,000 buildings.

The term "edgeless city" plays on edge city. It captures the fact that most suburban office areas lack a physical edge. In contrast to edge cities, which in theory combine large-scale office development with major retail, edgeless cities feature mostly isolated office buildings at varying densities over vast swaths of urban space. Whereas factory towns, secondary cities and even edge cities share a spatial logic with big cities (albeit on a diminutive scale), edgeless cities represent a radical departure in urban form.

Mr. Lang's recent report for the Brookings Institution, "Office Sprawl: The Evolving Geography of Business"

Draft of an expanded version that will be published in Housing Policy Debate 12.4 (2001). HTML - PDF - Figures 2-3-5-6-7


Telecommuting and the Future of Cities: A Preliminary Look at White-Collar Workers

Prof. Ingrid Gould Ellen, New York University
November 8 , 2000

Advances in communications technology over the last decade have been staggering. The central question for urban researchers is whether these technological advances are changing where people work, and ultimately, where people live. Will urban centers, as many futurists have predicted, no longer serve as the nucleus of employment activity, as more and more people telecommute from isolated areas?

Using the Work Schedules supplement from the 1997 Current Population Study, this paper examines the prevalence of telecommuting, explores the relationship between telecommuting and the residential choices of white-collar workers, and speculates about future impacts on residential patterns and urban form.


Internet Pricing and the
History of Communications

Andrew Odlyzko [website]
AT&T Labs
October 11, 2000

There are repeating patterns in the histories of communication technologies, including ordinary mail, the telegraph, the telephone, and the Internet. In particular, the typical story for each service is that quality rises, prices decrease, and usage increases to produce increased total revenues. At the same time, prices become simpler.

Historical analogies suggest that the Internet will evolve in a similar way, towards simplicity. The schemes that aim to provide differentiated service levels and sophisticated pricing schemes are unlikely to be widely adopted.

Price and quality differentiation are valuable tools that can provide higher revenues and increase utilization efficiency of a network, and thus in general increase social welfare. However, it appears that as communication services become less expensive and are used more frequently, those arguments lose out to customers' desire for simplicity.

The speaker's papers on this subject:

Internet growth: Is there a "Moore's Law" for data traffic?, K. G. Coffman and A. M. Odlyzko
Internet pricing and the history of communications, A. M. Odlyzko
The history of communications and its implications for the Internet, A. M. Odlyzko


Mapping the Global Internet:
Past, Present and Future

Martin Dodge
Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
University College London
April 12, 2000

My talk will critically review the state of knowledge of the shape, size, form and impacts of the global Internet as revealed by the perspective of geographic measurement and mapping. Maps have been key tools in geography and planning for many years. Over the thirty-year history of the Net a fascinating array of maps have been produced by a diverse group of scholars, consultants and engineers, beginning as far back as the very early days of ARPANET in 1969.

I have been collecting, cataloguing and analyzing a broad range of cartographies of the Net over the past couple of years. One output of this is my web site, An Atlas of Cyberspaces. I draw on this research and the examples in my Atlas for my talk.

How much do we know about the geography of the Internet at scales from the local to global from these maps? How far do the publicly available maps inform about the changing character and subtle impacts on society, economy and space? What is missing from the maps? What future maps are needed and can they be produced?


Planning Cybercities:
Integrating Telecommunications
into Urban Planning

Steve Graham, Newcastle University
Visiting Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
March 8, 2000

This presentation explores how urban planning strategies are creatively trying to address the complex interlinkages between telecommunications, urban forms and transportation. It has three parts. In the first, I set the context for local, planned intervention on IT and telecommunications by exploring the broad relationships between the development and spread of new information technologies, and the changing form and development of cities, and systems of physical mobility and location. In part two I go on to review a broad, international range of emerging urban planning and policy initiatives that are trying to shape the articulation between urban built forms and electronic interactions. Finally, I conclude by assessing the significance of these policies and suggest ways for creatively integrating telecommunications into urban policy and planning practices and strategies.


Where is the Internet?
Production, Consumption and
Contents of Web Information

Aharon Kellerman, University of Haifa
February 8, 2000

Internet is perceived as a fully virtual system, so that both production and consumption of web information may be universally possible. Data show, however, that three U.S. cities lead in the production of web sites (New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles). These cities have enjoyed previous specializations in finances, high-tech and multimedia. Interestingly enough, the cities which lead in information consumption are not necessarily those that lead in information production (San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Boston), and here the high-tech sector is of special importance.

Classifications of web information types show no relationship with the specializations of leading cities in both production and consumption, attesting to a system independent of its location, other than the need for telecommunications infrastructures. These findings imply various policy and theoretical considerations.

Professor Kellerman's paper is available here


Professor Kellerman addresses scholars
at New York University


Workshop: Cities in the Information Age

June 15, 1999

Michael Batty
Director, Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis,
University College London

William Mitchell
Dean, School of Architecture & Planning,
M assachusetts Institute of Technology


With support from the National Science Foundation, under the Urban Research Initiative
(C) 1999, 2000, 2001 Taub Urban Research Center, New York University
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