Following up on my first post on Thackara's cities piece: Anne Galloway draws our attention to her earlier comments on this talk. She and her post's discussants point out problems with Thackara's overstating the effects of the creative class, overrating the abolition of space meme, and suggests better balancing the mobile/static opposition.
On the spectacle: I read the piece as targeting Debord's Paris (as the Situationist focus), along with subsequent urbanisms; p2p, mobile, geolocated, smartifact technologies challenging or outflanking some of the key components of this, such as the usual bestiary of mass infotainment (advertising, news, etc.). One weakness to this approach, beyond leaving the Sit critique unchallenged, is that it skips over a section of history including pre-net alternative information networks (tape trading, zines). A second problem is the avoidance of the well-known panoptic/sousveillance field. Lastly, it's yet another urbanism which pretends the suburbs and rural areas don't exist.
Still, I can't resist dreaming about a derive using RFID tags to mark new names and descriptions for places, digitally tagging objects and places, seeding a city with pre-cached, time-sensitive notes, and moblogging a fluid narrative.
Anne has recently posted with some more thoughts and pointers on new urbanisms.