Currently Reading: “The Science Of Cities: Is Urbanization Sustainable?”

Geoffrey West.

Geoffrey West. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This afternoon I found this article on www.bigthink.com entitled “The Science of Cities: Is Urbanization Sustainable?”  and the gist of the article is about The Santa Fe Institute and its study of urbanization. I found some interesting thoughts that I wanted to share with our readers. This quote from Geoffrey West from The Santa Fe Institute:

“is New York just a scaled up San Francisco, which is a scaled up Santa Fe? Superficially, that seems unlikely because they look so different…On the other hand, a whale doesn’t look much like a giraffe. But in fact, they’re scaled versions of one another, at this kind of cross-grained 85, 90 percent level.”

Another interesting statistic from the article is:

West and colleagues tracking these dynamics of urban centers around the world have discerned therein lies laws containing a “universality” to them. For instance, “doubling the size of a city systematically increases income, wealth, number of patents, number of colleges, number of creative people, number of police, amount of waste… all by approximately 15%.” Additionally, this doubling effect “saves approximately 15% on all infrastructures.” These results have been observed in hundreds of cities and counting, all around the world.

As a county commissioner, I need to keep my eye on such as I find these type of statistics absolutely fascinating!

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Recently Purchased: The Metropolitan Revolution

book cover

book cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been intrigued by the science of cities as proposed by Geoffrey West and Luis Bettencourt of the Santa Fe Institute. I have begun to read books such as  Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser, Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities and The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City by Alan Ehrenhalt.

I have recently purchased The Metropolitan Revolution by Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley, which looks to be an interesting book about how cities are breaking political barriers and diversifying their economies. The book focuses on success stories in such places as Portland, Oregon and even in Detroit. Mr. Katz and Ms. Bradley are both associated with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. I have moved this book up my pile and will let you know some of my thoughts on this book.

Currently Reading July 3, 2013

City Lights

City Lights (Photo credit: Ghassan Tabet)

I have become intrigued with the growth and development of cities and have run across a paper by Geoffrey West and Luis Bettencourt of the Santa Fe Institute about the scaling of cities and which is new to me, quantitative urbanism.

I started reading this book Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser and ran across some interesting quotes that I felt our readers might find of interest:

From Page 53: “Successful cities must build in order to accommodate the rising demand for space, but that doesn’t mean that building creates success.”

From Page 59: “Research by four economists found that in three out of four large cities, higher tax rates barely increase revenues because economic activity dissipates so quickly in response to higher tax rates.”

From Page 63: “The failures of urban renewal reflect a failure at all levels of government to realize that people, not structures, really determine a city’s success.”

These are just a few quotes from the book and it gave me quite a bit to mull over. This part of the book really focuses on Detroit and New York and the different paths that they took in handling the problems that they encountered. I am going to periodically comment on this book and I highly recommend it if you have interest in this subject.

Currently Reading January 26, 2013

Bird's eye view of the city of Jackson, Madiso...

Bird’s eye view of the city of Jackson, Madison County, Tennessee 1870. Drawn by A. Ruger. CREATED/PUBLISHED Chicago, Chicago Lithographing Co. [1870] NOTES Perspective map not drawn to scale. “Looking north west.” Library of Congress. Ruger map collection ; no. 176. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to the bookstore and purchased On The Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks by Simon Garfield   Link

I have recently become fascinated with maps and have run across a store in Halls, Tennessee named Murray Hudson Antiquarian Books, Maps,Prints and Globes  Link which I had the opportunity to visit back in the summer of 2012. They had maps from the 1870’s of Jackson, Tennessee, which I currently live and this map brought history alive.

From reading the reviews of On the Map it brings out some intriguing questions. I believe we take maps for granted but how would we determine who has the rights to particular property or without our GPS signal could we truly get to where we are going? I will be reporting on this book in the future.

(1) Read: “Nature Has A Formula That Tells Us When It’s Time To Die'” Krulwich Wonders January 22, 2013 Author: Robert Krulwich   Link

I found this article very interesting but I preferred going to the source which is Dr. Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute and his talk at the Legg Mason Thought Leader Forum in 2005   Link   He explains this in a manner that doesn’t just apply to species but also to cities as well. I highly recommend this!!!

I plan to read the following articles this weekend if at all possible and will report on these on Monday, January 28.

(1) From the February, 2013 Scientific American Magazine   Link

“The Myth of Antioxidants” by Melinda Wenner Moyer

“Brain Cells for Grandmother” by Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, Itzhak Fried and Christof Koch

(2) From the January 28, 2013 Issue of The New Yorker   Link

“Bones of Contention: Dinosaurs for sale,” by Paige Williams   Link

(3) Wired Magazine February 2013   Link

“Think Big”  by Steven Levy

This article appears to be about seven world changing ideas. Looks Interesting!!!

“Mutants” by Carl Zimmer

Having started Spillover by David Quammen, Link  these type of articles have me on a roll.