Smart Phones and Urban Change in the 2010s

According to the architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, smart phone technology enabled the most profound changes in Philadelphia during the 2010s.

1 minute read

January 1, 2020, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


EB Adventure Photography / Shutterstock

"If the Aughts were a decade of recovery, when Philadelphia emerged from a half-century slide and began growing its population again, this has been the decade of disruption. Blame it on Apple’s juice," writes Inga Saffron.

Following the invention of the iPhone in 2007 and the Android in 2009, the ubiquity of the technology in the 2010s meant Philadelphia spent the decade encountering and reacting to the consequences of the technology, "including gentrification, traffic congestion, a demolition free-for-all, and upheavals in its retail districts."

Philadelphia shares these experiences with other cities, and Saffron notes the changes are consequences of success. But: "The tech-induced trends from the last 10 years have challenged that physical form by radically reconfiguring the way we move through, and interact with, the city."

Among the categories of change enabled by smart phone tech and its related tech industry boom, Saffron lists the increased demand for housing resulting from tech jobs, gentrification, congestion, parking impacts, the architecture of technology (Philadelphia's most obvious example is the skyline-changing Comcast Technology Center), and more.

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