Tuesday, November 14, 2006

ot: islands of air conditioning

"the air conditioner's widespread adoption spelled the demise of front porches, wide eaves and high ceilings. and it fueled the explosive postwar growth of sunbelt cities like houston, phoenix, las vegas, and miami."

thought-provoking: manila is an unusual city. it's organized around large malls; every district seems to have its own large mall surrounded by office buildings and residences. often when i ask the address of some place, people give me the nearest mall and the cross-street!

unlike in the u.s.a., where most malls only have undistinguished "food courts," many above average manila restaurants place themselves on the outside edges of these malls. these are restaurants that middle-class and upscale filipinos would enjoy, what we in nyc would call one-star white tablecloth neighborhood restaurants.

recently i asked my colleagues at the manila office how this came to be, this strange division of the city into islands surrounding these large malls. air conditioning was their instant reply.

central air has likewise turned manila into a giant global city, the new bangalore. modern capitalism seems to require air-conditioning, and air-conditioning brings globalization with it.

i myself never think about air conditioning; but it's clearly one of those seemingly small changes that is rapidly changing the face of the world's economy and its political structure. . .even how people think about nature.

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posted by fortune | 3:51 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 1 comments

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