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Israeli Geographical Association Convention

Written by Nico Black

Digital Strategist and early-stage investor, Nico is also an AdTech enthusiast. He has over a decade of digital marketing experience and has been investing in tech companies since 2006.

December 17, 2007

While presenting my thesis titled “Re Examining The Digital Divide In Tel Aviv – Jaffa”, as part of a panel on society and planning in modern day Israel, I was presented with three difficult questions. I was asked more than those 3 questions of course, but these rang especially true for two reasons:

  1. The identity of the antagonists
  2. The substance of their question
Professor Yiftachel challenged me on the point articulated by Zygmunt Bauman predicting the death of geography discussed in his book Liquid Modernity (2003). Baumna’s idea was that space will be increasingly insignificant with the advent of telecommunications. This notion was popular during the 90s and now considered moot. My thought on the matter, and consequent response, was that I find it truly incredible, being a geographer by education, to nullify the importance of vertical space based on a notion that social ties become vertical by using digital communications. If anything, I explained, telecommunications in an unregulated state agglomerate. This agglomeration creates a a pattern of core and periphery within a city creating increased competition of space. Thus, telecommunications in the neo liberal world make geography more pronounced rather than liquid.

Professor Khamaisi “cut to the chase”, “what is” he asked “the relevance of your study to planners”? Ah, the immortal need to connect academia to the real world – a perpetual challenge. It seems to me that any critical review of a spatial phenomenon based on structural analysis helps to break down the false consciousness of neo liberal ideology. No, not all economic activity fits perfectly with an abstract ideological blueprint, and local conditions should dictate different approached to tackling the digital divide. Planners, whether municipal or national must realize that digital resource planning is about closing the gap through active government activity, while cooperating the public sector to fill in when government can’t. But yes, this means tenders, active competitive regulation and set milestones involving all segments of society in the global economy. If a government won’t do that, it simply isn’t serious about closing the digital divide. The UK, however, does seem to be on the right track as opposed to the residents of Westland, Michigan.

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ההתפתחות של רגולצית תחום התקשורת בישראל דומה מאוד למהלך הרגלוציה במערב כולו, אולם ישנם כמה מאפיינים מקומיים ייחודיים....