This week's reading 'From Warfare to Welfare' is a historical tour through the process of how defense logics and the professionals behind it functioned as the foundations for modern urban development in US cities. She examines various layers ranging from City management and GIS to the 'wired city' concepts. She argues that the defense logics were the backbone of it, but also limits that they have not been the all-deciding force behind everything because a lot of them did not actually leave the planning stage and materialized. She continues that in the post 9/11 era (or even more so) this relationship has become once again evident.
It reminds me of the famous urban legend that the Internet itself was developed to maintain a military C4I system and win the World War even in case one of the major cities is blown away by Soviet nukes. Though nobody actually confirmed of proved it, it sounded so plausible because the ARPANET was funded by NASA and people easily tend to think that if the defense people are doing it, it must have some military purposes. However, as Light found out in many other aspects, it is not defense per se but the logic of defense mechanism, its money and above all the actual professionals that actually propelled them into that direction. In that sense, it is clearly another layer of hidden information labor.
A question that comes into my mind is, what other paths of urban development could have been taken if it were not the defense professionals who were in the planning roles? Or simply, what difference did they really make? I wish if there was a section that compared the modern urban developments influenced by defense mechanism and its professionals to the pre-WW developments that did not rely on those logics, which would have made the findings of this book clearer.
Another question is how the Information flow structure that the planners have been emphasizing has actually affected the work and life in those areas and how those phenomena have fed back to the planners on subsequent plans. Was the defense logic still persistent in all the subsequent corrections as well, or did they mix up with other logics (such as market needs) to become something hybrid and new? I haven't followed the literature on this field, and maybe somebody already answered those questions...