December 15, 2001
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View from the balcony

I grew up in Chicago, rebuilt after a disastrous 1871 fire as urbs in horto, the city in a garden. Chicago was planned -- not as the new Paris and Brasilia were planned, but still with deliberation and intent, striving to build an efficient and graceful city at the edge of the already-vanishing prairie.

Singapore is only a little older than Chicago, and its transformation in many ways is no less remarkable than the growth of the City of Big Shoulders, in which individuals who settled in a sleepy six-house outpost lived to see it become the home of the World's Fair. It's greener than Chicago (though the equator helps!), and the university campus has some lovely gardens.

Cyberspace is younger, more populous, and stranger than either city. There, too, we need gardens and parks. The frontier was never a good metaphor for the net, but the bordertown and entrepot are, perhaps, images worth a closer look.