Cite: Formisano V., Fedele M., Bashirpour Bonab A., Technology and Innovation: Solution for Uncertainty in Quantum Cities, EGEA Università Bocconi Editore, pp. 529-539.
During the past century, focus on standardization, linearity, and discretization of industrial processes brought about ideas as diverse as Archigram’s Walking City (Archigram (Group) et al., 1999), Soleri’s Arcology (Soleri 2006), and Lynch’s City-as-a-Machine (Lynch 1984b). The core metaphor of such conceptualizations is a city-as-a-mechanical system composed of interconnected parts, forming a complete, self-sufficient whole. The plethora of deterministic approaches to urban complexity, thus, can be envisioned as variations of the Newtonian City metaphor (Heap 1997).
However, even the proponents of the first mechanistic metaphors eventually grew weary of the limitations of their early models. For example, towards the end of his life, Lynch rejected his models of the City-as-a-Machine and, more aggressively, the City-as-Organism, emphasizing on insufficiency of the two metaphors when applied to complex organizations such as cities (Lynch, 1984a 1990). Conversely, novel approaches were advanced in opposition to prior cybernetic (Batty 2011; Batty & Ferguson 2011).
Globalization and the emerging disruptive technologies of the twenty-first century complexify urban reality beyond the structural limits of prior Newtonian metaphors. The latter alone makes metaphorical analogies with quantum theory and, thus, the legitimization of the Quantum City metaphor a viable alternative (Zohar 2022).
Building upon general relativity and quantum theory concepts, Arida argues for a new conceptual construct of the “society-space-time” (SST) continuum of urban life (Arida 1998, 2002). Indeed, the overwhelming complexity of contemporary cities and the related emerging problems in urban planning, design, and management have shown the inadequacy of the simplified positivist solutions envisioned by the grand planners of the twentieth century (Macionis & Parrillo 2017).
At the same time, with the advent of the new millennium, scholars are predicting radical changes in increasingly numerous aspects of social and para-social life due—to a great extent—the advances in technological development (Grando & Vicari 2021; Kaplan 2015; Maynard 2015; Philbeck & Davis 2018). Therefore, buttressing Arida’s conceptualization, we consider technology an additional dimension of urban reality and, thus, introduce the concept of the “society-technology-space-time” (STST) continuum. By the analogy with quantum field theory—in which the spacetime is the stage on which the dance of the quanta occurs—it is in the interference patterns of STST continuum dimensions that the complexity of a city is explained.
In this paper, by means of a systematic literature review, a functional definition of a Quantum City will be given, identified by the set of technologies pertinent to quantum urban contexts.