Simulating Urbanity

HBO's The Wire has wrapped its last season of urban criticism disguised as a cop show. Dan Hill, who creates simulations of cities in his day job, is fascinated by The Wire's simulation and deconstruction of Baltimore.

Read Time: 1 minute

September 12, 2008, 5:00 AM PDT

By Tim Halbur


Among the many intriguing insights delivered in the interview, the following passage struck me as particularly interesting, in the context of a day job increasingly concerned with formulating simulations of cities, and particularly urban models which begin to layer in the more intangible aspects of city life, such as culture and creativity.

"The show would instead be about untethered capitalism run amok, about how power and money actually route themselves in a postmodern American city, and, ultimately, about why we as an urban people are no longer able to solve our problems or heal our wounds. Early in the conception of the drama, Ed Burns and I-as well as the late Bob Colesberry, a consummate filmmaker who served as the directorial producer and created the visual template for The Wire-conceived of a show that would, with each season, slice off another piece of the American city, so that by the end of the run, a simulated Baltimore would stand in for urban America, and the fundamental problems of urbanity would be fully addressed."

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