The geography of data centers

Alan Wiig
“The geography of data centers and the networked urban condition”

The disposition of data to transform social exchange is predicated on pervasive connection to global telecommunication networks, where the ‘high design’ of digital, mobile technologies like an Apple iPhone function through mundane, distributed, operational landscapes that transfer information across distance while also affecting proximate space in consequential ways. While data is largely immaterial except in the action it enables, the storage, maintenance, and transmission of data require many layers of interfacing systems that function across scales but are always, inherently embedded in particular places. This presentation will examine the aesthetics and politics of data centers through case studies in the Northeast United States. Understanding the impact of data on the planetary, networked urban condition necessitates conceptualizing the relationship between data infrastructures and the fabric of the city.

About the speaker: Alan Wiig is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of Temple University’s Vice-Provost for Research and the Urban Apps and Maps Studios. His work examines the networked geographies of the Internet, from smart city, digital inclusion efforts to the material infrastructure of mobile communication.