Santa Fe Institute

What makes cities unique...and the same?

Feb. 11, 2016 12:28 p.m.

Cities take pride in the industries that make them unique; Detroit is known for its auto manufacturing while San Jose and the surrounding Silicon Valley touts its technological prowess.

But at their basic structures, cities share some remarkably similar patterns, explains a new paper in the Royal Society’s Interface, co-authored by SFI’s Hyejin Youn, Luís Bettencourt and Geoffrey West.

Assessing data from urban areas across the United States, which included 20 million business establishments, the authors could identify trends across cities of different sizes and with different dominant industries. They discovered that while the particular variety of industries and businesses may vary from one place to another, as cities grow, the general ratio of business establishments and workers also grows at a predictable relative rate.

Read the paper in the Interface (January 20, 2016)

Read an article in Forbes (February 10, 2016)

All SFI NewsAbout SFIFollow SFISupport SFISFI Home

News Media Contact

  • John German
  • Director of Communications
  • (505) 946-2798

Publications

Parallax newsletter
Bulletin magazine
Follow SFI

SFI in the News