Steven Graham: It was a spectacular event in terms of media impact and massive scale of urban terrorism. An event that was symbolic of a whole new sort of mode of political violence against the centers of the global economy—the so-called world cities, the world centers of financial, economic, and military power. And an attack orchestrated through means of electronic finance, through appropriating the infrastructures of the city to target the city. So I’m particularly interested in how it’s an event that has been used to underline the vulnerabilities of contemporary urban life. Because of that fact, because the systems and infrastructures that allow the modern city to exist, to function, can at the same time be appropriated and used to project malign power, malign violence against it.
So that’s one level. At another level it was clearly a shorthand for an entire geopolitical imagination. It’s been appropriated by the right, by the left, by theorists, by social scientists, in a myriad of ways not necessarily all justified, not necessarily all unproblematic. But it’s become a shorthand for this rather stereotypical notion of the West against some sort of global jihadist violence which is bent on destroying the symbols and architectures of Western power.
Urban terrorism is as old as the city, effectively. Guerrilla warfare tactics against civilians go back as long as there have been cities, as long as there have been walls. We have to contextualize September the 11th, 2001 within a very very long urban military and historical context.
So in terms of what was different about the event, well I would say two things. First of all the way in which the operations were clearly imagined and planned with a very strong emphasis on the global media impact. Whether or not every element of that was intentional we can’t say, you know. But the very fact the second plane, in terms of the attacks on the Twin Towers, arrived into the world global media capital fifteen or so minutes after the first one did mean that it was a real-time experience for the globe, for anyone fixed to a screen after that iconic moment of “Where were you on 9/11?” was registered, if you like.
And that did project the imagery of 9/11 in a very very powerful way which is continually percolating even now with a particular intensity. That adds to the way in which the event can be used as this shorthand that I’m talking about. So the media impact. I mean, Mike Davis famously discussed the sense that it was just like being in a movie, you know. It was a real set of events that rehearsed endless tropes in Western popular culture, Western media culture in particular—Hollywood—about the death of the city, about the apocalyptic attack on the city. And New York itself, Manhattan itself as the iconic modern city along with several others of the 20th century, has been violently erased in comic books, in films, in novels, in science fiction dystopias thousands of times in the history of Western popular culture. So there’s a very strong resonance between the real events and the carnage and destruction and the popular cultural imaginaries that of so deeply rooted in Western—particularly US—urban culture.
So that’s the first emphasis of what was different. The second one I think yes, there’s a very strong architectural and infrastructural element to the attacks. Some critics have pointed out the fact that a large number of the attackers, and certain Mohamed Atta, had backgrounds in urban planning. They had been trained in Mohamed Atta’s case in Hamburg in professional planning programs. And their theses and research projects as students were very critical of the sort of orthogonal Western modernism that was being imported into Middle Eastern and particularly Egyptian cities. So you could arguments— I mean, this is a very extreme argument in a sense but, there is an element of massive architectural critique through death and destruction here. And some of the writings of Osama bin laden criticize the sort of godlike power of vertical architecture as symbolizing a sort of decadence and depravity of Western cosmopolitan cities.
It’s a really interesting question to look at the sort of politics of urban wounding, urban destruction within a broader frame than just looking at these events. Because it’s dangerous to just fetishize the 9/11 attacks without looking at this broader context.
When the Twin Towers were built—and they were an element of a much much bigger urban modernization strategy orchestrated by Robert Moses who was the leader of the Port Authority in New York, famously arguing as described by Marshall Berman in his All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, the need to cut through the city with an axe. This was the mantra of modernity according to Moses and many other urban planners within the 60s and 70s. So, the legacies of Moses were not just the Twin Towers but it was a whole range of massive flyover complexes, massive housing projects erasing entire neighborhoods like Stuyvesant Town, a massive parkway and airport complexes and so on.
So, there was actually a very big backlash against the construction—initial construction of the Twin Towers as the ultimate in arrogant modernism, the ultimate in brutal overrationalized gigantism imprinting onto a very rich fine-scale streetscape, as defended by the likes of Jane Jacobs famously in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
And what’s interesting is that one of the first uses of the word “urbicide,” which is a word that’s relevant here, the term meaning a sort of intentional attack or annihilation of the city, was coined by a famous American architectural critic about the construction of the Twin Towers. This was Louise Huxtable. She was an architecture correspondent for The New York Times. And she actually argued that this was an of urbicide. So there is a very strong destructive element to urban planning which is often neglected, often obfuscated, in the writings about urban planning and urban change. The necessity of a hugely new, rational, comprehensive approach to the city, as symbolized by Le Corbusier, Robert Moses, and so on, necessitates huge levels of planned violence. Violence against the city sometimes, violence against the people that get in the way of these imaginaries.
So it’s important to stress that you know, violence against cities operates in many ways. And there are the most sort of spectacular events of violence against the city such as the trauma of the 9/11 attacks.
But as you say, there are people who are were very glad to be rid of those buildings, those really dominating, overrationalized gigantic structures in the city. The irony of course is that they’re likely to be replaced by something just as powerful and just as big but perhaps a bit more glitzy in design terms.
Well there was a call quite soon after the attacks on the Twin Towers—and we mustn’t forget the attacks on the Pentagon as well—for an end to tall buildings, quite interestingly. Certain people who were very very strongly against the history of the skyscraper, the skyscraper as an architectural form, were suggesting this was the moment to be rid of these structures. That these structures were icons of insecurity as well as power. Which is interesting given the history of the skyscraper.
Obviously that hasn’t happened, and ever since 2001 the skyscraper has proliferated, burgeoned, and grown even higher in terms of the Asian megacity. And skyscraper construction is running at an extraordinary—an unprecedented rate. So, in terms of the sort of demise of the skyscraper that was a red herring, not surprisingly.
The broader politics of security have been heavily influenced by the way more conservative critics and police and security agencies and industries have reacted to the September the 11th attacks. And that has led to an intensifying process of what political theorists call “securitization,” the argument that there is an existential threat to the city, to the public spaces of the city, to the inhabitants of the city that necessitates increasing security measures, whether it be physical such as the building of security zones and security plazas with passage points, with security cordons, with entry controls, with changing legal regimes which prohibit assembly, protest, political activity. And that’s been very very widespread. And sometimes a powerful intensification of electronic surveillance, whether it be closed-circuit TV systems and so on.
So this is most visible in certain global cities, cities like Washington, New York, London, where large sways of cities are essentially being cordoned off through techniques of what I’m calling “the new military urbanism.” These are really techniques that are very similar to the sorts of instruments that’re used to build green zone complexes in the cities of the colonial periphery where urban insurrection and counterinsurgency warfare is operating. It’s about building safe zones with buffers around them to inhibit the people and vehicles that are deemed to be potentially threatening. So there’s an imaginary of the city here as a source of threat, a source of camouflage, a source of density, and a source of unpredictability which is profoundly problematic for the functioning of global capitalism, essentially. And the imaginary here blends the cities of the Global North, the capitalist heartlands, with the cities of the colonial peripheries, if you like, in the Global South and suggests similar techniques of surveillance, building security zones, increasing sort of bunker-like fortress complex.
And even at the level of certain buildings we see startling new architectures of security being introduced. One of the skyscrapers that’s being built on the footprint of the old World Trade Center in Manhattan has an enormous basically concrete bunker covering the bottom fifteen to twenty storeys, which is this surrounded by a sort of glitzy glass and light facade. So it’s sort of stealthy. But the effect is to create a sort of new blast-proof zone around the ground levels of buildings, dealing with truck bomb threats and so on.
The new US embassy is another startling example in London. The US is basically fortifying its embassies around the world, not surprisingly. There is a new proposal to build a $1 billion embassy on the South Bank of London which basically resembles a Norman keep. It has a moat, it has a huge setback from the street, it has a startling level of securitization. And architects and urbanists are very concerned about the potential and the real impact. Because it moves to a world where access and rights of assembly that have been longfought over, long struggled for through centuries of civil mobilization are being removed at a stroke, are being removed because of the supposed emergencies of our time. And these are very clear when you see events like the G20 Summits, or the Olympic events, or the G7 political meetings, where entire swathes of cities basically become out of bounds, bounded off, fortified, and anyone, basically, being present in ways that’re deemed threatening is arrested preemptively. So there are huge issues at stake here in terms of the right to the city, in terms of the right to democratic rights to mobilization and dissent which are being undermined very radically and very rapidly in many cities around the world on the back of these events.
What I would say, however, is that we don’t want to necessarily suggest that all of this is due to the reactions to the September the 11th attacks. A lot of these processes were underway before those attacks, because of broader processes of urban change and cultural change, social polarization and so on. What the responses to the 9/11 attacks have done is basically amplify and exaggerate many processes that were already startling in cities across the world.
The new military urbanism is a concept that covers a whole variety of different ways in which cities are being projected as security threats, are being imagined as zones of uncertainty and insurrection. And this is being fueled by responses to the 9/11 attacks but also by a very big push by security industries, IT industries, defense industries, electronic industries, fueled by research in the university sector of course, to sell security products across the board to cover all aspects of urban life in terms of monitoring, surveilling, and tracking the spaces, circulations, and infrastructures of the city to address these purported security threats.
So this is a broad political economy of security. It’s a new security economy which is colonizing every aspect of life. Walking through doors, going across borders, taking bus trips, walking around public spaces, credit card transactions, buying air tickets, getting on a tube train, getting on a train. Every aspect of behavior within and between cities is now being colonized by these sensing devices, these integrating database systems which are being pushed very heavily by this new security economy. So, there’s a drive here in the world of the post-Cold War, which is important to stress, where state versus state violence is reducing, defense expenditures in the traditional military sector are reducing. And what that means is that the traditional line separation what policing might mean from war and military violence might mean from what intelligence functions of the state might mean are blurring very rapidly. The lines separating war from peace are blurring very rapidly. The lines separating the local from the global are blurring very rapidly.
And in the place of thought we have a much more fluid world of permanent mobilization. Permanent mobilization through this world of a priori data collection, tracking, surveillance, identification, and so on. Which is deemed to basically try and isolate the threat. I select the individual, the mobility, or the transaction that is threatening from the background of urban life, from the background of millions of people, billions of transactions. Remember, the threat is deemed to be coming from the city. It’s not wearing a uniform, standing in a desert and waiting for bombs to fall from space like in the Iraqi military annihilations of 1991. This is a threat which permeates the city, which is already within the loop, so to speak, was already within the wire, so to speak, and the response of the security-industrial complex is to sell anticipatory surveillance to every aspect of the city, on the back of these discourses of securitization.
So this securitization against disease, against the wrong bodies in terms of migration and bordering, it’s securitization against illegal finance in terms of electronic Internet transactions, securitization against the wrong imagery in terms of bombing Al Jazeera’s transmission facilities when necessary. It’s what Alan Feldman, and anthropologist at NYU has called “securocratic war,” permanent mobilization against the wrong mobility, circulation, or body. And I think the new military urbanism is a useful concept for understanding how those things come to rest in places, come to reshape places.
I’m working on the work of Michel Foucault… I mean, Foucault’s idea of the boomerang is very helpful here in terms of the history of colonial geography. Foucault didn’t write too much about empire and the Western European colonial experience, but he did come up with this idea of the boomerang effect, whereby colonial projects used to far-off space of colonization as a zone of experimentation, as a zone of trying out new techniques, new weapon systems, new instruments of power and social control, which are then mobilized and normalized back into the heart of the metropol. And if you look at the history of say the fingerprint, the panopticon prison, Haussmannization in terms of building boulevards through the troublesome neighborhoods of Paris, all those techniques and ideas were experimented with first on the colonial frontiers of Western European empires and then mobilized back into the heartland of the metropol.
What I argue in the thesis of the new military urbanism is that this is constituted too through lots of boomerangs, whether it be through drone systems, biometric tracking, digital CCTV, GPS systems and so on, which are then mobilized back into the sort of security practices of the metropol.
Yeah I think Deleuze’s idea of the control society is very helpful. I mean, just to recap, Deleuze was suggesting that the traditional Foucauldian sense of discipline orchestrated through the architectural spaces of the panopticon, the work house, the hospital, the clinic, the school, etc. was no longer adequate in describing the way security is modulated these days through a myriad of senses that’re stretched out across geographic space and temporal distance as well. And absolutely now. I mean, one very very useful perspective on the control society is to look at what we mean by borders, you know. The traditional idea of the Westphalian state was very much to see the border as a territorial line separating the domestic community which is deemed broadly as a liberal space for citizenships, for democratic organization and so on, to be separated from an other, from an outside, from a space of foreignness which is then subject military power, subject to military expeditionary power. Whilst the inside of the state broadly speaking is to be policed. Obviously it’s not that simple. You have military mobilizations as well.
What you can see now in the sort of political geographies of our world is as I was saying a much more blurred world of liberal space, illiberal space, where bordering doesn’t necessarily go on just around the territorial limits of nations but goes on around strategic enclaves. Gated communities, shopping centers, elite financial districts like the city of London or the Docklands area. They have their own bordering systems. They have their own systems of tracking and control, checkpoints, and so on. So we see a more archipelago-like world. What has been called a sort of “medieval modernity” by Ananya Roy and Nezar Al Sayyad, of enclaves governed by particular arrangements, deeming their surrounding wells to be illiberal and dangerous spaces. This is very much the way in which urban geography is being recast in many cities around the world.
So bordering now becomes a much more flexible process of data gathering across transnational space. Think of the global airline system as a huge effort at, as you say, not stopping mobility because of threat but of maintaining mobility whilst building data that can assess risk. And every time you buy an air ticket, for example, there’s a big process of data mining now that goes on. In the UK fifty-three bits of data are gathered every time an air ticket is purchased. And special software is used. Computer algorithms to process a sense of risk.
So we have new politics of temporality here. We have data from past activities, continually analyzed with a view to making assumptions about how current behavior will assess future risk. And this this is the new politics of security in a world where risks are camouflaged into the background. Risky bodies are not visibly distinct from non-risky bodies. Risky behaviors operate through the everyday circulations of the city. Now the software of the city becomes a means of orchestrating urban life, through Deleuze’s control society, modulating containers moving, bodies moving, electronic finance moving, whether it be for tourism, elites, business mobilities, transnational neoliberal capitalism. And the only way to orchestrate a sense of securitization on those structures is to think of them as big data collection systems and assemblages, again to use the Deuleuzian idea of securitization.
And that’s happening. We’re seeing efforts to look at Internet traffic, airline traffic, container security traffic. All of which are orchestrated by the idea of anticipatory surveillance. Software which automatically deems the threat to be here, here, and here. Obviously this can’t be done by people. The data that’s needed to be brought together, profiled, is so massive that the only way to have a possible clue is to do this automatically. So I would very much argue that the politics of the city are very heavily overlapping these days with the politics of software. Who makes the software that deems this act to be abnormal or threatening? Where are those political assumptions being made within this new security economy? And I think this is really difficult terrain for urban activists to grapple with because this stuff is a transnational economy of software which is being invoked very powerfully across these new control societies.
The archipelago separating nodes of liberal enclaves from the illiberal other has a myriad of geographies, it appears in a myriad of ways, all of which are complex in terms of how they connect with each other. Clearly we have the offshore finance enclaves. We have the elite residential enclaves. We have the global finance enclaves. We have the mass production and sort of foreign trade zone enclaves. And increasingly those zones are governed by their own particular arrangements. They have their own governance arrangements which have growing powers to secure themselves. They have their own private militia, private armies, private security guards and so on. Often the very immediate bordering strategies which are literally beyond the other side of the street or beyond the other side of the urban district becomes the space of the illiberal threat.
So I would say we need to pay much more attention to those geographies and archipelagos. Because they have enormous potential impacts in terms of the future of nation-states, the future of ideas of universal citizenship. They blur into worlds where we have quasi citizenship, virtual citizenship, and increasingly illiberal mobilizations against populations which previously were considered to be national. You know, you can think of the way the Italian governments and the French government are now mobilizing against the Romani populations. We can think of a lot of the far right mobilizations against the non-white populations of European cities, which have full citizenship in many cases but are still deemed to be other and foreign and so on.
So, I think this sense of a mobile archipelago of enclaves, of fortified enclaves, is very powerful. And yes there is evidence that this erupts and is built in ways that crosses over with the building of green zone enclaves and fortified sectarian geographies in places like Baghdad. There’s evidence for example in New York that the building of the security zones around the Wall Street area and around the city hall area in Manhattan are explicitly using the same design principles as are being used in the greens zone. There’s research that has demonstrated this boomerang effect in those terms.
There’s evidence of course that the proliferation of drones around [mega?] event security, G20 and political summits and so on, is a normalization of technologies that have been used for quite a long time now in terms of the prosecution of colonial war on the frontiers. And in terms of things like biometric checkpoints and so on. There’s a parallel evolution there in terms of attempts to control populations in counterinsurgency warfare and the gradual encroachments of biometrics into the everyday worlds of cities of the Global North.
But I would stress it too that the role of Israel/Palestine as a sort of paradigmatic zone of experimentation in sort of dark worlds of population control, urban control, architectural control, has to be stressed. Naomi Klein has written about this, for example. She calls it the “standing disaster.” So the standing disaster state, apartheid disaster state. And there’s big evidence now, as I’ve researched in the Cities Under Siege book, that a lot of the Israeli companies that have built their surveillance security systems on the back of the colonial domination of Palestinians are now selling them as “combat-proven systems” that will permeate rapidly into these burgeoning security economies.
And given the broader social polarization that’s coming in on the back of austerity, on the back of retrenchment, I think it’s really important to stress that the security economy booms in these contexts, you know. It’s one of the few sectors that does well and grows in the world of this broader retrenchment of the sort of welfarist notion of the state. Which is worrying to say the least.
The modern project relies on these systems of technology, you know. It’s particular electricity that facilitates electric light, computerization, electric power and everything else. But also you know, water, sewerage, public transportation, and electronic communication. And energy of course, too. I mean, a myriad of those systems are continually present in other moment in the modern city, but are often invisible. They’re often black boxed, so to speak. They’re often in the background. And they become banal and taken for granted because of that very fact. They’re always on and they’re everywhere, therefore culturally they become invisible. There’s a whole history to how that process emerges which is very interesting, actually.
But you’re right, the paradox is that when they are removed there’s a sense of…the carnivalesque in certain contexts—only in certain contexts, I would say. The contexts which are not life threatening, generally speaking. The contexts where you know, all of the normal behaviors of the city suddenly become relevant. You know, in Manhattan in 2003 and across the northeast seaboard, it became pointless to try and commute. It became pointless to try and take the subway. And all of a sudden, the streets were empty. As Michael Sorkin has said, a lot of the progressive agendas that leftists have been arguing for in Manhattan for forty years suddenly became manifest almost at a stroke. We had mass pedestrianization of the dangerously destructive and life-threatening streetscapes of New York. And there was a carnivalesque atmosphere. There was instant partying. There was a sense of people getting to know their neighbors who had not normally encountered each other because they lived in these modern bubbles of frenetic New York urbanism.
Having said that I think we do need to temper that sometimes quite romantic notion of you know, returning to some sort of pre-industrial community and so on with a sense that very often turning off these systems is life-threatening. Very often it’s a means of undermining the lives of bodies in the city. Because the only way those bodies can be sustained is through the continuous work of all of these infrastructures. There no way when the water goes out we can all go and dig boreholes. There’s no way when the power goes out we can all go and generate our own electricity. We are reliant on big technology, big systems, until there might be a huge culture of off-the-grid living, which is being mooted by certain green theorists at the moment.
And we should remember, too, that you know, these are very life-threatening agendas, particularly for the week, the old, the vulnerable. You know, when heat gets too high, it’s the vulnerable that suffer. Erik Klinenberg wrote an amazing book about the heatwave in Chicago and how it was largely African American people living at the tops of the project right under bitumen roofs that basically fried. When the water goes it’s the people who…you know, the weak, the old, and the young. As was with the bombing of electric systems in Israel by the Israeli military, and the US military in Iraq. You know, that leads to very large urban death rates. But they’re invisible, you know. They’re away from this. And justified as a sort of humanitarian form of warfare, ironically.
So yes, there is a whole spectrum of politics of disruption. Some of it is carnivalesque. Some of it is…powerful culturally by bringing in this sense of other, this sense of almost sublime. Of being in a dark city at night. It’s a radical concept, especially when it’s Manhattan. Just to be in a dark Manhattan at night is an extraordinary moment.
You know, capitalist urbanism is always about creative destruction. This is the important point that David Harvey’s theorizations of urbanization have been so important at establishing, you know. The constant turmoil of capital is about creatively destroying landscapes, back to the Schumpeterian idea. So there’s constant sense of planned destruction as well as neglect that goes on, as uneven development leads to new hotspots, geoeconomically, geopolitically, which move incredibly rapidly in the contemporary world economy. So the result of that is a politics of ruination which…you know, potentially overlaps with the idea of urbicide. And certainly Marshall Berman’s writings, not necessarily in his All That Is Solid Melts Into Air but in other work, was very much to invoke the Robert Moses highway projects through the Bronx as a deliberate act of urbicidal violence. To target those particular parts of New York with these levels of extraordinary destruction, which had spiraled onwards through massive arson problems and some.
So there are a myriad of types of urbicide, a myriad of histories and genealogies of urbicide, that overlap in a complex way with these sorts of uneven development crises which leads to booming cities, iconic cities, suddenly being wildernesses within incredibly short paces of time. And nowhere faster than in the United States where the state is complicit in those big shifts, complicit in the massive shift to the suburbs in the post-war period, complicit in the constructions of the highway network which led to the exaggeration of that, complicit in the white flight away from the central cities, and complicit in the offshoring of manufacturing in the big auto sectors that has led to the extraordinary collapse of central Detroit—remember, the iconic modern city of the mid to early 20th century.
And as you say, an amazing politics of ruination, surrounded by a thriving high-tech economy. You know, you move to the periphery of Detroit—Ann Arbor, places like that—they are high-tech Silicon Valley-type places. But they are utterly separated from in imaginative space, or virtually physical space, from the core, the old core, where there’s a huge center that was supposedly symbolic of General Motors’ renaissance—it’s called the Renaissance Center—dumping out of the middle of the ruins, with a people-moving monorail going around that carrying virtually nobody. It’s a really startling place.
But the point about urbanism is that it’s a process of transforming nature, okay. I mean, cities are about turning nature into culture, effectively. And they involve very big interventions in the ecology of space, and the ecology of our Earth. Which means that whenever cities go through these processes of radical collapse the ecological presence changes. And we’re seeing as you say, deer roaming through the hearts of Detroit, we’re seeing natural vegetational succession, as happened when the ice sheets retreated after the end of the last Ice Age period, happening in the old ruined spaces of Detroit, you know. It’s a really powerful reminder that ruination involves ecology as well as buildings, and social and institutional forms as well.
We’ve seen this proliferation of terror labeling. Well, since the 9/11 attacks but much beyond that, where anything deemed problematic to the liberal market state is deemed to be terroristic. Whether it be eco-protesters, arms fair protestor, green protestors, you know. Anything that sense of interrupting the good circulations of tourism, of business, of the neoliberal world economy, is deemed to be terroristic. Whether it be a from a whole spectrum of things. And when no violence is involved, you know. This is where the ecoprotestor becomes the ecoterrorist very easily within this mantra.
And as you said, I think it’s very important to connect these processes demonization with long-standing efforts in history biopolitics, really, where the whole idea of the city has being about building structures of governmentality, and infrastructure, and architecture that can separate the benign, risk-free, and the healthy economic, social, and cultural circulation from those deemed other, from those deemed other or threatening or what have you.
So, the history or urban planning can be interpreted over thousands of years as a history of efforts to really project this sort of Manichean imaginary into spaces. Whether it be the mountain housing movements of the post-war. Whether it be the house modernization of Paris. Or whether it be the contemporary period of sort of biometric bordering to potentially and permanently anticipate the threatening circulation.
And I think a large swathe of the urban interventions we see, whether it be number plate recognition cameras, installing passage points into what were free urban spaces, the whole idea of face recognition CCTV, data mining, are all about this idea of securocratic war, permanent mobilization against a generalized, unidentified, and prevalent other which is camouflaged within the everyday. And our politics of urbanism quickly mutate I think into the border politics of securitization in this world. As I said before, where the means to attempt that mobilize into this rather arcane world of software, you know.
And I’ll give you one example of this. There’s a company in Boston called Video Analytics, I think is their name. And they are at the cusp of this world of building camera systems which are not actually manned by bored camera operators eating sandwiches, generally sort of looking at a street with a view to what might be deemed threatening. They actually take the whole logic of surveillance, which is to anticipate what might be deemed normal from what might be deemed abnormal at any one space in time, into software. So they have to build systems that automatically scan for the signatures of events in a particular space that are warranting protection against those that are warranting intervention because they are threatening.
And this company has come up with this system, and one of their experiments was in a parking lot, carpark, in the periphery of Boston somewhere. And they scanned a scene which had a guy getting into his car to drive away from the office, and a cyclist. And the software defined automatically, based on who knows what principles, assumptions, prejudices, or what—what have you—that the guy getting into the car was warranting protection and was part of the good circulation of the city. While the guy on the cycle, the guy on the bike, was not normal, was deemed threatening and so on. So it’s at that parochial and mundane level that the “software-sorted city” as I call it becomes manifest. And it’s obviously crucial to understand who makes those decisions, what legal basis do they have, do they translate into action, are they implementable, how do they invoke and use sort of biopolitics of the city in these twitchy times.