The Australian Design Review has published an edited extract from "The Wired City" essay in my new book City. It's about urban infrastructure. Here's the first paragraph:
During the 1870s time was pumped beneath the streets of Paris. Spread out under the city was a network of pipes filled with compressed air from industrial steam plants. The pipes emerged into homes and commercial premises, where they were connected to clocks. From a control room in the rue du Télégraphe, a pressure pulse periodically rippled through the system of pipes beneath the streets, pneumatically synchronising the clocks of the French capital to the standard time of the Paris Observatory.
You can read the rest here.