Understanding the mechanism of cities: Santa Fe Institute

An old (2011) video from the Sante Fe institute on the research agenda on understanding the dynamics of cities. I had been interested in the biological organism and complex network metaphor in respect to cities and organizational fields, so I am a big fan of the research! The main page of the project is here.

“SFI’s Cities, Scaling, and Sustainability research effort is creating an interdisciplinary approach and quantitative synthesis of organizational and dynamical aspects of human social organizations, with an emphasis on cities. Different disciplinary perspectives are being integrated in terms of the search for similar dependences of urban indicators on population size – scaling analysis – and other variables that characterize the system as a whole. A particularly important focus of this research area is to develop theoretical insights about cities that can inform quantitative analyses of their long-term sustainability in terms of the interplay between innovation, resource appropriation, and consumption and the make up of their social and economic activity. This focus area brings together urban planners, economists, sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, and complex system theorists with the aim of generating an integrated and quantitative understanding of cities. Outstanding areas of research include the identification of general scaling patterns in urban infrastructure and dynamics around the world, the quantification of resource distribution networks in cities and their interplay with the city’s socioeconomic fabric, issues of temporal acceleration and spatial density, and the long-term dynamics of urban systems.”
– Santa Fe Institute

Also watch a TED talk by Geoffrey West about some of the insights on the mathematics of cities.




June 27, 2013 · 4:11 pm

3 responses to “Understanding the mechanism of cities: Santa Fe Institute

  1. loughman

    This is a very interesting post. SFI has a MOOC on Intro to Complexity that, if you haven’t checked out, you would likely enjoy. I have a review of it here: http://kosmichero.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/introduction-to-complexity-review-of-the-santa-fe-institute-mooc/

    They are re-running the MOOC this Fall.

    • Thank you very much for the comment!

      I have read your review, it was very informative! I have not took the MOOC, but it seems to be a very good course, with a lot of materials covered. Hope I’ll have the chance to take it! Complexity is a very exciting field!

  2. Pingback: Currently Reading July 3, 2013 | Consilient Interest

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