We derive our view of human settlements from the Institute’s urban scaling research, which likens cities to stars: they attract people and accelerate interaction and social outputs, much the way stars attract matter and burn more brightly as they grow larger and denser. These social dynamics are a function of networks—interconnected systems of people and infrastructure arrayed in space.

With the discovery that modern cities display many of the emergent properties pre-modern cities and rural settlements do, the Colorado University of Colorado Boulder-centered project seeks to characterize and generalize urban life by developing a framework driven by contemporary, historical, and archeological data and informed by the tools and methods of complexity science.

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