chapter  11
16 Pages

Comparing the Growth Dynamics of Real and Virtual Cities

ByNarushige Shiode, Paul M. Torrens

Virtual cities were first conceptualized in science fiction literature. They were popularized by cyberpunk authors such as Neal Stephenson and William Gibson and their tales of vast “metaverses” and “cyberspaces,” composed of bits rather than atoms, sprawling like megalopolises (Stephenson 1993), towering with information skyscrapers (Gibson 1984), with firewalls crafted to resemble those medieval cities (Gibson 1996). As the stories go, these cyber cities are inhabited by real people, rendered in virtual space as digital avatars of various descriptions while maintaining a corporeal presence in the real, tangible world.