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Building Mitchell's Well: Digital Spaces in the Urban Environment

Part 2 Dissertation 2006
Neil McManus
Newcastle University Newcastle-Upon-Tyne UK
This dissertation explores issues related to fragmentation caused by increasing digitalization and examine how this affects the urban fabric. It offers suggestions on how built form could be used to influence redevelopment based around the theoretical framework established by William Mitchell, in particular his notion of an 'electronic agora'. First, the concept of cyberspace is introduced through a discussion of some of the seminal writings in the field in an attempt to reveal the tensions between built space and virtual space. The second chapter looks into the concept of 'spatial' journeys and how these experiences form our idea of space-use with regards to factors like convenience. Chapter Three examines the impact of information technology through a case study of an internet portal, 'Virtual Manchester' and, by relating that to other forms of e-commerce conclusions are reaches as to how electronic spaces can be integrated into the built space in particular building types such as libraries.
Neil McManus

A very good, consistent argument, well substantiated with a good range of sources. Well written and structured. The case studies could perhaps have been considered in more depth and the concept of the 'architecture of the in-between' should have been articulated more clearly. Over-all a serious attempt at engaging with a contentious and elusive topic.

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