Flashing LED displays, the major-key jingles of arcade games, the low buzz of cathode-ray monitors. Most cities have a technology district. In function, they might exist to sell and fix devices; in practice, they channel the rhythm of the cities that house them. Within these districts, in discreetly everyday moments, society and technology collide.
Over the past six months, Rest of World visited eight of these tech markets and districts across the world — from the sensory barrage of Akihabara in Tokyo to the rain-spattered, rowdy SP Road in Bengaluru.
What we found surprised us. Family businesses had pivoted with alacrity to new platforms. Some had technologies for sale that market’s original merchants couldn’t have dreamed of. Others still feared the effects of the pandemic and the rise of e-commerce. But most extraordinary was how cities and their needs have adapted, and the forms in which these districts have survived — even re-emerged.