The Internet as our Third Place

Released: April 22, 2010.

James Howard Kunstler believes that the virtual is not an adequate replacement for the authentic. In spite of how appealing and ingenious we may find virtual life, it is not as good as real life. Kunstler calls the Internet “the world’s most amazing distraction from reality that has ever been invented” and he notes that it appeared just at a time when we are in desperate need to attend to the major troubles facing our society. Online spaces now serve as our “third place,” but that often occurs at the expense of our tangible public realm. Kunstler says the sense of place in the U.S. was severely damaged well before the Internet came along, but he wonders if there is a link between our impoverished public realm and our increasing desire to inhabit the Internet landscape. Other areas of discussion include: the Internet as “green,” the enterprise of “infotainment” and the effects of digital communication on human interaction.

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Support for this program comes from the Congress for the New Urbanism, the nation’s leading forum dedicated to advancing urbanism and promoting alternatives to sprawl. CNU’s 18th annual Congress,”New Urbanism: Prescription for Healthy Places” will be held in Atlanta, May 19 – 22, organized with help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will feature 90 plus sessions, tours, and immersive experiences with world’s leading thinkers and builders of good urbanism, and prominent researchers into the health impacts of how places are built, including the CDC’s Dr. Howard Frumkin, co-author of “Urban Sprawl and Public Health.” Register today, at: