HUBBING + SPOKING is an independent project that was presented to the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during a Summer 2017 research assistantship with Professor Conor O’Shea in the LANDSCAPE STRATEGIES LABORATORY.
Influenced by Aaron Koblin’s Flight Patterns, HUBBING + SPOKING visualizes my own global movement on commercial flights through the course of my life. By organizing urbanization through the flows of people, critical nodes within the global airline network and their influence on how we move throughout the world are uncovered. The logistics of airline transportation helps certain places of the world assert their position as global cities due to the networks passing through them.
HUBBING + SPOKING is influenced by the work of Max Hirsh in Airport Urbanism: Infrastructure and Mobility in Asia, situating itself within existing models of mobility and migration. This project visualizes a new understanding of cities that reconceptualizes the relationship between global migration patterns and transportation infrastructure.
In Learning from Logistics, Clare Lyster sheds light on the impact of logistics networks on architecture and urbanism and the role they place in catalyzing urban settlements. HUBBING + SPOKING reinforces a lot of what Lyster summarizes in her book:
Logistics positions the city within the larger mesh of connectivity to the global network, with place now being defined by abstract relationships with some other points in the larger geo-network context, or what Manuela Castells terms the “space of flows” (page 27).
Throughout my travels, I’ve witnessed how scales of urbanism have lost significance in configuring the built environment, evidenced, for example, by the “Brooklynization” effect taking place around the world. Stephen Graham goes on to explain that this is due to the fact that remote locations have more in common that places within the same city in the space of flows (page 34).
With the proliferation of low-cost carriers over recent years, I would argue that we are able to experience “Brooklyn” in farther away places as a cheaper price. As Max Hirsch explains, “There are less affluent people engaging in a type of petit bourgeous transnationalism: flying great distance to get things they can’t afford closer to home” (page 6).
HUBBING + SPOKING’s final map exemplifies continental urbanism, with urbanity bursting at its seams to extend beyond oceans and regions so that the city “is not just nowhere any anywhere, it’s everywhere” (page 28).