Note — Apr 12, 2020

18 Lessons of Quarantine Urbanism

Benjamin Bratton specifically says to “timestamp my remarks,” knowing things will change and he’ll need to come back to his lessons. They are already good ones though, and appropriately consider systemic issues and a global scale. He looks at governance, model simulations, broken sensing layers, strategic essentialism, fully automated luxury quarantine, and more.

Some of the most salient bits for me: the need for a more nuanced surveillance vocabulary; trophic cascades; “everyday geoengineering;” and considering global large-scale mobilization and enforcement.

Testing and sensing are the same thing. More testing is better sensing, which means better models, which means better public health response. Inadequate planning and provision for testing is inadequate modeling, which is inadequate governance. […]

Where effective planetary-scale planning and governance should reside, there is instead a screeching void. […]

Concepts like “geoengineering” should be redefined to imply planetary-scale design effects, not just specific technological interventions. Regulatory regimes such as a global carbon tax, as well as the conservation of natural carbon sinks and biodiversity, are also, in this way, forms of “geoengineering.” […]

Among the most divisive and decisive issues of the 2020s will be not if—but how—national and transnational militaries are deployed for the protection of ecological commons, mitigation monitoring, preventative land management, and the development of climate intervention technologies. […]

At this moment, dry, prepared, trustworthy, available, adaptable, responsive technocratic foresight and effectiveness seem like the most idealistic politics imaginable.