The belated second edition of my Building to Code column is now life on Real Life
Whereas elites of the 20th century had to actually neglect, demolish, and rebuild physical buildings to manipulate the price of land, the new titans of the FIRE industry can create artificial scarcity — from Uber availability to who your roommates are — with algorithms. With the surveillance technologies built into their Toronto and Hudson Yards projects, Google does to these buildings what they made billions doing to the internet: monitoring for advertising opportunities. Meanwhile, the We Company has grown from a humble but trendy co-working space to a globe-spanning real estate empire. Their recent smart cities initiative was introduced as part of a commitment to “globalization, urbanization, and climate change”; it is easy to imagine members-only WeCities as literal oases surrounded by guarded gates to keep out climate refugees. Big tech is poised to take the inscrutable filtering and sorting methods used on your Facebook Newsfeed or your Google search results and apply them to the streetscape.