Karima Kourtit

Super-Proximity and Spatial Development

Our world is getting smaller all the time. Connectivity and accessibility in space have improved to an unprecedented degree compared to past centuries, thanks to the enhanced design and effective implementation of transport infrastructure networks and increasingly also as a result of advance cyber infrastructure networks. Our connected and accessible world has indeed become «a small world». Technological innovation has become a buzzword in the past decades. The design, implementation and adoption of digital technology, in particular, have prompted entirely new forms of spatial interaction and communication, with a significant and unprecedented impact on transport, trade, tourism, migration, and social contact networks. In today’s increasingly innovation-driven society, almost every activity, action, task, communication, interaction, movement and decision is supported by new technological artifacts and inventions. This paper introduces the notion of «super-proximity» to highlight the force field of physical and virtual infrastructures at various geographical scale and time levels, and to sketch the spatial-economic implications of this universal megatrend towards zero distance-frictions. The paper will be concluded with some prospective observations on the future spatial implications of the e-society and their analysis.

Keywords: super-proximity; density; accessibility; connectivity; proximity; infrastructure; innovation; Maslow; digital technology; spatial interaction and communication; transportation; networks; suprastructure