Serious thinking about cities & us

Thanks to dear friend LouBette Herrick for recommending this piece by Jonah Lehrer in the New York Times Magazine, A Physicist Solves the City. Subject: “What makes a city grow and thrive? What causes it to stagnate and fall? Geoffrey West thinks the tools of physics can give us the answers.” Herewith a couple of quotes:
The end result is that cities aren’t just increasing the pace of life; they are also increasing the pace at which life changes.

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 puts it, “Companies are killed by their need to keep on getting bigger.”
Whether he's got all the details right or not, he's obviously on to something. This very different way of thinking about large agglomerations like cities and corporations should provoke us to come up with better solutions to urban and other problems. Almost makes we want to rush to order this book, but it's a little pricey.

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