Architect Athfield spoke the other night on sustainable cities. Thanks to the Science Media Centre for putting up the audio. The bulk of his speech is in Part I & Part II covers a wide-ranging Q&A. There's some very good points, from the scattershot infrastructure which could do well from co-ordination, through to 'accidents by design'. The audio was bit hard to understand at times, with a few blurry punchlines, but it's still good value.
Our communities need to be more accident-friendly. In a secular civil society, you can't rely on the traditional accidental networks of just churches or other vanilla groups to broaden the real live non-internet, non-mobile phone social networks. It relies on the risk and reward of maximising coincidences.
But between event management costs, ever decreasing public spaces and hospitality outlets being harrangued and regulated out of business, throw in some Soccer Mum paranoid hysteria, armchair inertia specialists, and a fucktonne of NIMBYs, I'm not holding my breath on the change that is required to reconnect for real.