Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox
Chapter 18: Cyberinfrastructures and ‘Smart’ World Cities: Physical, Human and Soft Infrastructures
Andrew Boulton, Stanley D. Brunn and Lomme Devriendt MAPPING POINTS AND FLOWS Each Sunday in central Kashgar more than four thousand vendors bring their goods to the International Trade Market of Central and Western Asia. Here, buyers and sellers from the city and its desert hinterlands barter over everything from silk and handicrafts to livestock and vegetables, much as they have since (at least) the days of the Han Dynasty (206–220 BC) when explorers such as Zhang Qian remarked with surprise upon the vibrancy of the urban marketplace in this arid outpost. Much of the architectural character of Old Town Kashgar is no more: wrecked, a small, hyperreal, tourist-friendly ‘taste’ of the Old excepted, in the first decade of the 21st century in the name of safety, ‘modernization’ and anti-extremism by a government seeking to bring stability and control to the alleys and warrens of this cold, ‘threatening’ western city (Sheridan, 2008; Macartney, 2009). An oasis city of 350,000 in the far west of China’s Xinjiang region, Kashgar arguably sustains itself as a viable city today on the basis of the same locational advantages that made it a key trading location, staging post and population center on the ancient Silk Road: water supply, relatively fertile land and superior accessibility by land and, today, by air (see Kreutzmann, 2003, on livelihood strategies in the region). In classic textbook maps of the ancient Silk Road, Kashgar appears as a dot (or node) within a more-or-less coherent system of arrows and...
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