This might be a bit of a digression from our standard conversation, but I asked myself recently if the China question is really a scale question. I have been looking at ‘visible’ interweb landscapes for a related project. These are essentially local landscapes: streetscapes and neighborhoods. But when information (or interweb) policy issues are raised, the scale shoots way up.
Take this as an example: an internet cafe, or a URL in a bit of graffiti, or a geo-tagged piece of public art are street level issues. Conversely, a cable company providing wi-fi cablemodems by default is a policy issue. Both affect the landscape, but at different scales. In the former, the people in the neighborhood are building the interweb into the landscape. In the latter, the neighborhood is being affected from above.
A corollary question might be: What are flavors of neighborhoods with highly visible infostructure? And are the local manifestations different than the top-down ones?
Additional digressions are about to follow.