Professor Geoffrey West is a British theoretical physicist, former president and distinguished professor of the Santa Fe Institute. He is one of the worlds leading scientists working on a scientific model of cities. Among other things his work states that with the doubling of a city’s size, services per capita will generally increase by 15%. Below are two videos with a summary of his message, and a call for a science of cities. They are fascinating to watch.
The first video is from the World Economic Forum in 2013, where Professor West is focusing on the consequences of urbanisation. He says that using statistics and the theory of large numbers, the state and development of urbanised areas can be predicted with very high accuracy.
The second video is a TED talk from 2011, where Professor West presents the simple, mathematical laws that he claims govern the properties of cities. According to Professor West, wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city’s population. In this mind-bending talk from TED he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations.