change your worldview!

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"...a refreshing provocation which may generate the concepts and schemes to bridge the chasm between traditional urban design practice and graphic futures..."
Brian Goodey
Joint Centre for Urban Design - Oxford Brookes University

"A creative and valuable application of quantum thinking to the fields of architecture and city planning."
Danah Zohar
Author of The Quantum Self and Rewiring the Corporate Brain.

(* * * * * ) Arida goes Quantum
In Quantum City, Ayssar Arida recalibrates analysis and possible action at an urban level based on his reading of quantum phenomena. By so doing he further elaborates and clarifies strategies for action as a designer and critic in relation to both individual architectural artifacts and the assemblies of objects and events that become cities. In an era when the predictable formats of urban design and planning no longer seem particularly relevant or effective, Arida joins others who are searching for more synthetic ways and means of urban description and thus of urban production. What distinguishes his discourse from other infrastructural, delirious, fuzzy, or post-structural reassessments of urban design, is the use of quantum relations. The interdependencies, but also the quirky shifts in significance, that this prevalent form of scientific thinking offers in the urban realm clearly have relevance to work on as complex and contradictory system as a city - an intricate assemblage of forms with more intricate cultural implications and motivations.

Arida begins with a whirlwind synopsis of urban thinking from the Ancients to the present followed by an equally terse look at the now venerable history of quantum theory. Where the book gets very interesting, and here it could have become just the opposite as this is the most speculative portion of Arida's text, is when he relates theory and the city using his reading of the quantum, viewing urban space and the relations between forms. Here the programs, motivations and manifestations of urban desire form a matrix for action based on relations, on balances and uncertainty. Holistic connections are formed at this point unnecessarily, but the basic notion of an urban field of shifting interactions not only, more clearly than usual, describes the extraordinary circumstances of the city but seems to, more effectively than usual, propose new ways of working there.

(* * * * * ) city as a strange attractor
Arida's Quantum City provides a cogent framework for describing the city in terms of the language and concepts of quantum theory. This approach allows him to view buildings as events, urban users as roving subjectivities, and to re-texture the urban space as a process of interference rather than a collection of static objects. The author is at his best grappling directly with the city, and notions of quantum theory that provide a means to re-evaluate 'chaos'. Without being proscriptive, the book makes a different kind of sense out of what makes urban space tick, and offers a novel critique of classical urban design. More importantly, it makes inroads into offering a new set of language/conceptual structures that allow us to see the city differently, and therefore offers the possibility of solving existing urban problems in novel ways.

Iain Borden:
(The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and judge for the President's Medals dissertation prizes, RIBA)

"The author uses the terminology and themes of quantum physics in order to provide an overview of urban design principles, operations, practices, principles and education. For the potential reader, there are number of possible areas of interest in this:

-- General historic overview of development of cities,
-- General historic overview of development of science,
-- General introduction to quantum theory,
-- Metaphorical relation of quantum theory to urban design."


(* * * * ) well worth reading
What makes this book so interesting is that the author draws on his understanding of places as diverse as Oxford and Beirut when putting forward his ideas on how quantum theory can be applied to the way we look at our cities. Luckily there is also a introduction to quantum theory for those of us (like me) who are new to it. Recommended.


Pure theory, this title explores the relationships between quantum theory, urban design and the concept of the city. The increasingly hotter discussions revolving around physics and inhabitation is documented clearly and insightfully by Arida. The author has previously published many articles on the relationship between worldviews and the development of cities.

Powell's Books:

-- Provides completely up-to-date and cutting-edge theories in this ground-breaking area of linking quantum physics with urban design

-- Allows you to develop your own ideas about urban design through its accessible and straightforward style

-- Discussion of scientific, philosophical and urban theories creates a universal relevance and a new worldview

Quantum City is a provocative, original and extremely timely exploration of the discipline of urban design. It asks the question "can a world-view based on quantum theory produce a better approach to the problems of the city?" The reader is invited to explore the Quantum City and the ways in which it is set to make a significant contribution to the development of architectural theory. It is the first attempt at linking the concepts of quantum theory to the field of urban design. It is an easy, enjoyable, non-technical read with a very serious aim: to change the way designers (and the public in general) look at the urban realm.

architectural press:

Explains cutting edge theories; linking quantum physics with urban design... The accessible and straightforward style allows you to develop your ideas about urban design... International case studies make the book universally relevant.

In Quantum City, Ayssar Arida explores the metaphorical relationships between quantum theory, urban design and the concept of the city. Using the terminology and themes of quantum physics, the author draws the reader into an intriguing discussion of the principles, practices and operations of urbanism.

Architects and urban planners will elicit insights and inspiration from this original and provocative book, which aims to radically change the way the urban realm is designed and experienced. Challenging traditional approaches to the theory of cities, the unique and innovative argument of Quantum City constitutes an exciting new voice on this globally hot topic.