How is Technology Transforming the American City?

For a feature on Technology and the City, Architectural Record examines how the digital economy and tech culture are transforming Chattanooga, Detroit, Austin, and San Francisco. Many changes are welcome, but can urban success become too successful?

"The technology industry is shaping contemporary American cities the way that steel or automobiles did in an earlier era," say the editors of Architectural Record. "But what makes technology such a defining force is how it affects not only the economy but the texture of urban life. Digital enterprises and their young teams infuse the city with disposable income and a taste for microbreweries, rock climbing, food trucks, bike lanes, locally roasted coffee, and just about anything artisanal."

But the tech-driven transformation may not all be for the better. In Austin, a city growing by 120 people a day, affordable housing in the central city is quickly disappearing. "In San Francisco too, the economic boom—as more tech companies seek the urbanity that's missing from Silicon Valley—is making some longtime city dwellers feel a kind of despair for the hippies now being replaced by hipsters," writes Cathleen McGuigan, Editor in Chief.

"Finding the balance between old funkiness and new luster is the challenge of cities. But we don't mean just style or ambience. We mean finding a way for cities to embrace the future while remaining truly democratic, open, and accessible to all."

Full Story: Technology and the City

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