What is interesting, is that in a low-tech environment, solutions can be found through combining low-tech resources with super-high-tech ones, in a sense making the evolution through inter-mediate development phases superfluous.
You can clearly see this happening in the field of communication. Telephone and its material infrastructure of cables are in a lot of areas in Africa not or only sparsely developed. The contemporary technology of wireless systems opens up the potential for a jump from a lack of a decent telecommunication infrastructure, straight to the most modern flexible mobile communication network. The stage of wires and cables can be avoided completely.
This way, Africa might be able to skip a whole phase in the development of a city that western cities did have to go through.
What are the effects the new information technology will have on urban development patterns?
William J Mitchell, Dean at the MIT described the latest trends in his latest book, e-topia.
He writes: "In the twenty-first century, new, high-speed digital communications infrastructure will refashion the urban patterns that emerged from nineteenth- and twentieth-century transportation, water-and power supply, and telephone networks."
You can already see this sort of transformation unfolding in the South- Indian City of Bangalore, for example.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the government of India invested in high-speed satellite earth stations at Bangalore. These provided twenty-four-hour international connectivity to nearby software parks containing workspace for software enterprises, and thus became the focal points of the thriving software export industry. (In less than a decade, India became the world's largest exporter of Tele-services, and the second-largest exporter of software.)
Mitchell goes on;
"The most dramatic general effect of this long-distance digital telecommunications infrastructure is the creation of new kinds of interdependencies among scattered regions and settlements. For example, businesses have discovered that low-cost, high quality voice and video connections enable delivery of certain customer-services from great distances: being in the right time-zone, speaking the right language, having the right software, and being competitive in a global labour market, can become more important than being in the same metropolitan area.
Thus stenographers in Hyderabad can transcribe dictation from doctors in Chicago (exploiting the time zone difference to provide overnight service), similarly draftsmen in Manila can produce CAD documents for London architectural and engineering firms, and workers in Africa can watch video monitors connected to security cameras in New York."