Space, Time, Power

43 – “The Space of Flows” – M. Castells,

Castells argued for the idea of the Space of Flows is based on the concepts of space and time. He states that space and time are the fundamental material dimensions of human life and that both are intertwined in nature and society.

Space and time are transformed under the combined effects of the information technology paradigm. The technologies could make possible the scattering and decentralization of business all around the globe.

The globalization is a process. This process is that centers of production and consumption are connected on the world wide scale. This has an impact in industrial locations, and creates a change in the urban layout. For example, Japanese companies tried to adopt a “just-in-time” practice. Companies tired having “the right material, at the right time, at the right place, and in the exact amount”.
Globalization blurred territorial boundaries, and even reversed. However, the new industrial spaces do not adjudge the demise of the old. The trend of the new society is home centeredness but it does not mean the end of the city. Time becomes more flexible, places become more singular, as people circulate among them in an increasingly mobile pattern.

The emphasis on interactivity between places breaks up spatial patterns of behavior into a fluid network of exchanges that underlies the emergence of a new kind of space – the space of flows. The informational city is a new urban form whose society is based upon knowledge and organized around networks.
The Space of flows is made up of three layers, firstly there’s the material layer which is constituted by a circuit of electronic impulses. The second layer is composed of the nodes and hubs that create the space of flows and their specific locations. The third layer comprises the spatial organizations of the dominant managerial elites – instead of classes.

In the past architecture has been a weatherglass of social change, the varying stages or styles relating to the social and political relationships of the time. Castells parallels the space of flows to post-modernism as the end of history and supersession of places.

The most intriguing thing aspect in the space of flows is how it relates to social movements and the influence of information technology on society, and the effect this has on the changing form of cities. What this illustrates is the tendency for things to constantly change and evolve, which is ultimately dependent on the flows of information and how it’s received. This then leads us to our questions.

1. What role does the Architect play in a world that is ever increasingly being shaped by the flow of information and electronic media?
2. What role can Architecture have in the development of Mega Cities?


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