“Ecology and Technological Enframement: Cities, Networks and the COVID-19 Pandemic” (Alice Cortés as second author).

In Reclaiming the City. (2022)
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Abstract

Though past commentators have attacked cities as corrupt, dirty places, it is almost too obvious to need stating that a sustainable future depends on them. This is because most people live in cities and because the streamlined use of urban space brings a wide range of efficiencies. Simultaneously, urban living and associated technologies may impact psychology such that people see humans and their cities as outside of nature, which has been shown to reduce concern for the wellbeing of the planet. Exploring these points in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we speculate on psychologically fueled environmental consequences of remote technologies. One possibility is that they may diminish contact with what we colloquially call “nature,” thereby reducing concern for it. Another possibility is that remote technologies may promote personalized work rhythms, allowing people more time in the outdoors, amplifying concern for the environment. Recognizing that vulnerable segments of the population are currently excluded from this second option, we optimistically sketch scenarios in which technologies may—somewhat ironically—help humankind escape technological entrapment, freeing people from a variety of backgrounds to reconnect in caring ways with nature.

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