Now listening to Geoffrey West. It’s heady. City planners need to get to know Geoffrey West’s work. He makes the case (through proofs) that cities function like biological organisms. Just as an organism scales up, it becomes more efficient and long lived. Same for cities. His data points are length of roads, utlity wires, pace of walking, number of gas stations, and hundreds more. In every city he can calculate the how big the city is just by looking at one or three of these data points. The number of gas stations, for example, decreases as a city’s population increases. The pace of walking increases in scale with city size. The bigger the city, the higher the wages, etc.
Just as a cells and capillaries function in all animals, despite their differences in shape (whale vs mouse), cities function in nearly exactly the same way, too. Santa Fe may be very different than NYC, but they function exactly the same way. He compares his analysis to fractals, where the elements of some thing are mathematically predictable, but it’s form is not.
OK, so, this leads to the issues of resource overconsumption and the slowed pace of technological innovation, both of which need to keep pace with these scales of growth, but are not. In other words, he’s discovered the formula for human collapse. Confused? Grab a cup of tea and watch.
The great thing about cities, the thing that is amazing about cities is as they grow, so to speak, their dimensionality increases. That is, the space of opportunity, the space of functions, the space of jobs just continually increases. And the data shows that. If you look at job categories, it continually increases. I’ll use the word “dimensionality.” It opens up. And in fact, one of the great things about cities is that it supports crazy people. You walk down Fifth Avenue, you see crazy people. There are always crazy people. Well, that’s good. Cities are tolerant of extraordinary diversity. …
This is in complete contrast to companies. The Google boys in the back garage so to speak with ideas of the search engine, were no doubt promoting all kinds of crazy ideas and maybe having even crazy people around them.
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