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    • CommentAuthorlucien
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2010
    not sure if this is news to anyone else, but i find the idea interesting. already posted it in the "around the net" thread, but figured it might bear the weight of it's own thread.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2010
    The article is very wordy, and short on actual equations.

    Page 2: when a city doubles in size, it requires an increase in resources of only 85 percent

    Page 3: whenever a city doubles in size, every measure of economic activity, from construction spending to the amount of bank deposits, increases by approximately 15 percent per capita

    Page 4: After a city doubles in size, it also experiences a 15 percent per capita increase in violent crimes, traffic and AIDS cases

    Page 4: Well, when you add up all our calories and then you add up the energy needed to run the computer and the air-conditioner, you get an incredibly large number, somewhere around 11,000 watts. Now you can ask yourself: What kind of animal requires 11,000 watts to live?

    Page 5: [To avoid running out of resources, or to find a new resource after we've run out of a previous one] Now we’re down to about 15 years between big innovations. What this means is that, for the first time ever, people are living through multiple revolutions. And this all comes from cities. Once we started to urbanize, we put ourselves on this treadmill. We traded away stability for growth. And growth requires change

    Page 5: [A counter-argument] ... is already obsolete and fails to explain recent trends. “In the last decade, suburbs have produced six times as many jobs,” Kotkin says. And these aren’t just unskilled service jobs. Kotkin says the centers of American innovation are now low-density metropolitan areas like Silicon Valley and Raleigh-­Durham, N.C.

    Page 5: But it turns out that cities and companies differ in a very fundamental regard: cities almost never die, while companies are extremely ephemeral. As West notes, Hurricane Katrina couldn’t wipe out New Orleans, and a nuclear bomb did not erase Hiroshima from the map. In contrast, where are Pan Am and Enron today? The modern corporation has an average life span of 40 to 50 years.

    Page 6: ... corporate productivity, unlike urban productivity, was entirely sublinear. As the number of employees grows, the amount of profit per employee shrinks. ... “Companies are killed by their need to keep on getting bigger.”

    Page 6: [Conclusion] For West, the impermanence of the corporation illuminates the real strength of the metropolis. Unlike companies, which are managed in a top-down fashion by a team of highly paid executives, cities are unruly places, largely immune to the desires of politicians and planners. “Think about how powerless a mayor is,” West says. “They can’t tell people where to live or what to do or who to talk to. Cities can’t be managed, and that’s what keeps them so vibrant. They’re just these insane masses of people, bumping into each other and maybe sharing an idea or two. It’s the freedom of the city that keeps it alive.”
    • CommentAuthorlucien
    • CommentTimeDec 26th 2010
    yeah, i doubt the article would have made it into the times though, had it just been the guy's equation...i'm curious to see the actual work he did, although the math would probably be a bit beyond me...i found the article interesting enough though...the city organism with it's predictable behaviours....
  1.  (9332.4)
    Hey lucien, the article was horribly written and virtually devoid of any validating facts or math, however the subject and idea’s introduced are fascinating. This is a really basic example, but I used to work as a street performer in the downtown core and using the weather and sunshine for my judgments, I could accurately predict what my days end profits (rounded to the nearest hundred) would be almost every morning. I could only imagine what people who actually understand math might be able to anticipate (or control). Thanks for the inspirational link the photographs in the article are also amazing.
    • CommentAuthorlucien
    • CommentTimeDec 27th 2010
    @HEY APATHY - i guess i should have provided a warning that there weren't any maths in the article. i figured that anyone interested enough in the ideas in therein could track down the published equations in whatever journal they're appearing in. i was fascinated by the article based on the subject, much like you, and have learned not to expect much from the times besides letting me know about interesting stuff that may bear further research. the ideas about urban environmental impact were interesting as well as the perspective of the physicist in analysis of both cities-as-organisms as well as animals-as-calorie-burning-machines. glad you dug it. i'm sure that life as a street performer would lock you into the "city organism" in a useful if "unscientific" manner.
    • CommentAuthorSteerpike
    • CommentTimeDec 27th 2010
    Here's some of their research from 2007, equations and all. Yay open access!
    • CommentAuthorlucien
    • CommentTimeDec 28th 2010
    damn. nice one steerpike. will have to take some time with this.
    • CommentAuthorapk5
    • CommentTimeJan 6th 2011
    psychohistory, anyone?
    • CommentAuthorlucien
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2011
    sure, i'm game.
    • CommentAuthorapk5
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2011
    aah, very good