Google Urbanism 1.0 - Proposition

So, the last few days have not been particularly productive on the speculation side; ruminating on Peabody Intervention has not produced much by way of fruitful architectural thought. As far as researching goes, I have had many more thoughts and frustrations and revelations, but I am still convinced (as was discussed last Friday) that some immediate, rapid, productive speculation is in order. Otherwise a downward spiral will begin shortly, and this will want to turn into a (bad) research paper. So, though I should have initiated this yesterday, I am now proposing an exercise in speculation. The bulk of it will be done before the weekend, and it will be analyzed and formatted over the weekend. The point is to make a proposal (which I am totally not sure of) and begin outlining an attack to it, which will hopefully allow me to bring in and frame the myriad of disparate thoughts and strands and blah blah blah.

In the spirit of the Daily Radical Proposal (yesterday's and today's of which this will count for),
I present:



The 700 MHz broadcast TV spectrum goes up for grabs early next year (Jan?). This is true.

What this means: the portion of the spectrum (2-51?) that was formerly reserved for the broadcast of analog television signals is available as TV stations were forced (asked?) to switch over to digital broadcasting by a certain date (2009?).

Google submitted a letter to the FCC stating that if 4 conditions of "openness" were imposed on the winner of the auction, they would submit a minimum open bid of 4.6 billion $ (what is this relative to current market value). More on this later, but it is basically a 'classical' economic response to a 'duopoly' that is being proposed, with all the attendant baggage. Plus Google wants in, obviously.

Perhaps a combo of cheap devices and free service based on an ad-centric model akin to that of their search engine is in store for nation-wide free wireless access, through any device, but especially a Google phone.

The other companies, cable TV and phones are pissed, AT&T the least (because they don't own the last mile to your home).

Good/Cool Things:

- It sounds so spatially evocative (think hydropower a little):

"At issue is a swath of spectrum in the 700 megahertz band"

"breaks up the 700 megahertz band into a five blocks of spectrum and requires the owners of a large, 22-MHz upper "C Block" to provide a platform that is more open to devices and applications."

"The FCC will soon auction off access to that spectrum, which is considered highly valuable because of its far-reaching strengths."
"leveled the playing field for companies that want to get into the network business but cannot break through the defenses erected by the massive incumbents who dominate the industry,"

- It's about networks

- Google is intense

- the internet, wireless communications, airwaves and the attendant metaphors are interesting: software v hardware, hacking, open source, open source community, docs, earth etc, massive multiplayer online universes, crazy networked physical infrastructure vs wireless infrastructure with mobile devices

- there is plenty of intense physical stuff to deal with

- Google has issues with censoring in China, is beginning to deal with global geographic issues

- maybe there is a wacky crossover between spectrums, comm waves and physical pollution as different emanations of the same stuff

- the whole ideas of communities (chat, email group, site, social progs, multiplayer lives and games) and forms of web-bing (blog, email, browsing, apps, storage, sharing, and so on) would seem exciting and spatial and you know

- s.o.e. is allover this

- this list goes on, and could get organized, but it all leads to


hmmm...its coming.

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