Is the web suburban?

Is the web suburban?

November 16th, 2009  |  Published in Ideas  |  3 Comments

I’ve been reading Suburban Nation (thanks Sherri) and it made me look at new media ecologies with a city planning eye.  I wonder, is the web suburban?  Do we have memorable, open commons or digital cul-de-sacs?  Certainly, many government sites like the Illinois Tollway site quickly feel like I’m getting lost or running into dead ends.  Are online retailers generally becoming more like mom and pop stores or big boxes?  While the architecture of the web certainly allows for multiple routes through and across sites (akin to traditional city streets), typical navigation structures tend be tree-like which seem more like the disorienting and disconnected street patterns of subdivisions.  Are big infrastructure centers like Google or Amazon like suburban collector roads?  Is this city planning model even a capable metaphor for thinking about information ecologies?

Subdivision photo by futureatlas.com via Flickr.