4.1.4. Cities in the mind

Some cities are born in the mind. The outlay of such a city, as given in descriptions and drawings, is a deliberate attempt to express certain ideas about living and the place of a human being on this earth. The subject of cities has connotations with a quadralectic environment, because it is in the multitude that an advance in the width of thinking can be most fruitful and effective.

The development of cities in the mind is, in essence, ‘unnatural’, because most things in nature grow in a ‘natural’ way. People are living in groups, building their habitats, as circumstances require. There should be a bond between the people, the geography (the earth) and the city in order to function. Cities in the mind defy these rules (or communication) and are therefore only possible when the bare essentials of living together as a community are solved.

The fictive development of a city can be a ‘wild’ idea of the Second Quadrant, but it can also be a structured plan developed in the Fourth Quadrant of a communication. Both quadrants are involved when a city is developed in the mind, but it is fair to say that the Fourth Quadrant setting is the most important in the present approach. A quadralectic researcher is not only interested in ideas as such, but also in the development of the ideas within a structured cadre of division thinking.

Many cities have never been built. There are times that one might regret the lack of persistence or possibilities in the past, but on other occasions one can also be glad that certain designs never made it past the drawing table, because the implementation would have been a disaster. Numerous architectonic designs have been produced to make a declaration – rather than expressing an intention of building. Architecture is in that sense close to art, which can also have a multitude of objectives of which the actual product is only a catalyst to make certain ideas visible.

From a quadralectic point of view there are four types of cities in the mind:

————————  The Ideal city  —————–  Ch. 4.1.4.1

————————  The Future city —————  Ch. 4.1.4.2

————————  The Virtual city —————  Ch. 4.1.4.3

————————  The Quadralectic city ——  Ch. 4.1.4.4

These different types have some relation to the intentions (visibilities) of the various quadrants, but these connections should not be taken too stringent. There are many examples of plans, which cross the boundaries of the above-given division. Ideal cities can be projected in the present, but also in the future. Cities can be born in pure fantasy, but also labeled as visionary when elements of the design turned out to be useful. Virtual cities carry the message of an immaterial reality, which can be from the past, the present or situated in the future. Finally, the quadralectic city is the apotheosis of the previous types of cities, following the lines of (quadralectic) thinking on a conscious level and positioning the different types of cities of the mind in a structural and philosophical framework.

1. The first step in a creative process of city development can be envisaged as the mind (of an observer) wondering over the possibilities and coming up with certain ideas. These actions take place primary – but not exclusively – in the First and Second Quadrant of a communication. The Ideal City is the outcome of psychological inventories whereby the ‘best of all cities’ is chosen as number one. The direction in time is primarily backwards (which is the major characteristic of an inventory): we have seen it all, and now we pick the best. Despite the necessary actions to reach the final goal of the ‘ideal’, the overall outcome is static. A (single) choice is the end of the creative process.

2. The Future City, on the other hand, looks ahead. Lines of possibilities are drawn from the present to a point in time where certain aspects of the city are enhanced and perfected. Therefore, the search for the future will be dynamic, there will always be more: more time, more possibilities, more knowledge and more opportunities. The unbounded fantasy to reach for a historic identity is often a strong motivation to design these types of cities. Another necessity is a political will to create a vision.

3. The Virtual City – or a place, which only exists by actualization – is again a static affair. Elements are taken from the visible reality and put together in cyber space. Modern computer visualizations are able to create a complete virtual world, making the pictures look almost better than reality. This virtual world and the cities therein create their own ‘immaterial material’ world, which is no longer satisfied with the natural aspects of the world.

4. Finally, the Quadralectic City is a compilation of the previous types of cities of the mind. It takes the initial four-division of a physical and meta-physical reality into account. Clearly, such an approach can only be dynamic. It uses all the view points of lower division thinking and adds its own wider view. However, the very moment the Quadralectic City is put to the test of reality, it seems to disappear. The essence of the Fourth Quadrant is lost when the multiplicity of ideas about the (virtual) form is taken from the drawing board and given to the actual builders. The city is then a Third Quadrant entity, just like all the cities, which exists today.

The various cities of the mind will be discussed with a special reference to their position in a universal communication. The ‘classical’ entity of the Ideal City (I) will get most of the attention, proving that the ‘Renaissance’ (or Third Quadrant) outlook is still with us today. The feeling of achievement and the spirit of retrospection are strong (post) Modernist characteristics, which cannot be denied.

It seems that the enthusiasm for grandiose Future Cities (II) has left us at the beginning of the twenty-first century, hence its scanty coverage. It seems that the existing, mature civilizations of the world (like the Chinese and the European cultures) have other interests in their ‘old age’. Their priorities are not geared towards the future. They enjoy the insight of a long temporal presence and its subsequent wisdom. But why are future cities not planned in the United States or other upcoming Asian cultures? Large-scale ideas about future development are at present only found in the oil-rich states around the Persian Gulf.

The medium of the Internet has significantly contributed to the idea of the Virtual City (III). Many games – which are basic forms of a Fourth Quadrant communication – are set in futuristic environments and virtual life becomes almost real in the Internet society of the game Second Life.

The quadralectic city (IV) is at present totally unknown, since the quadralectic philosophy has not yet seen a breakthrough.

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