It sank in last week that Exeter could be the first university with a positive spin on why there is no bookshop. Overnight I can remember something on the World Service about "showoff" architecture, the sort that announces new cities in a desert. Thing is, UK universities seem to be going the same way. Both Lancaster and Exeter have been building sites for a while. Then the Express and Echo has a page one story about how a "new era for the city" will herald the dawn of knowledge-based employment as Exeter carves out a niche as a City of Science.
What I don't understand is why this new web awareness ( if that is what it is ) starts with more and more buildings. Oxygen House is on the Exeter Business Park. Science is a good enough reason to extend the city beyond the motorway. Is the functionality added in any way? Was the previous campus ok even though it had a bookshop?
Meanwhile in the High Street Dixons or what used to be Dixons is now closing. Maybe mobile devices come as part of a contract for bandwidth. What is possible in the central city just with science as we know it? Wifi is getting better and there are coffee shops.
One theory I am trying out is that journalists and architects have been spending too much time in Second Life, Twinity etc. and have decided this is the reference design style. At first the virtual worlds had to imitate real buildings but three to five years ago a reverse process started. The computer software may be similar for designing either online worlds or new buildings. the only problem is with small details like post boxes, envelopes, books, bookshops. It is fairly easy to add a screen or blog feed. So Princesshay would not have looked quite right with a post box that could be easily found. And a university campus with a bookshop is just out of the question.
Don't get me wrong. I like Twinity and I like the screens in the Berlin Sony Centre. The version of Charing Cross Road in Twinity London has not got the bookshops I would expect but they are probably just planning ahead.
Life continues in many locations and timescales. I feel that conversation is possible covering many points of view.
MOO have sent me another free offer for business cards. This time to celebrate "about.me" a way to link your social presences together. starts with a QR card that links to your about.me site. I have chosen a Man Roland photo to link back to print. Also I have signed up as an affiliate. I genuinely think that MOO have an excellent offer. But I also hope to relate to hard copy from Exeter, virtual or whatever. My application still pending and the rewards are best through Facebook for some reason. So please wait for further links before placing large orders. Free offer of cards through about.me , actually there is a charge for postage works out at about three great british pounds for fifty cards.