Note: you are viewing the archived version of our website. Click here to go to our new site.

The Metabolism of Cities: Energy, Scalability, and Societal Well-Being - Luis Bettencourt, Santa Fe Institute


Urban Growth, Energy and Human Development
Luis Bettencourt, Santa Fe Institute

The study of cities is at the frontier of many different scientific fields, both theoretical and applied. While fundamental issues of social networks,economic growth and human development are central to understanding urban environments and have been at the core of different social sciences,new empirical data is allowing methods from the natural sciences and engineering to also contribute by creating a more quantitative approach to these issues. In this talk, I will give an overview of our current understanding of cities in terms of the interplay of all these ideas. I will show how many general properties of cities emerge from such a synthesis and how they allow us to better understand present patterns of urbanization and development around the world, shed light on ancient civilizations and allow us,perhaps,a glimpse of our future societies.

Background Review Article:
The Origins of Scaling in Cities. Lufs M. A. Bettencourt. Science 340, 1438 (2013); DOI: 0.1126{science.1235823.

Kavli Frontiers of Science

View all videos