Could the organization of our cities be smarter than we think? Here’s the abstract of my and Marc Destefano’s new paper in the journal Complexity…
Cities and the mammalian neocortex may seem to have little in common, but each is approximately a surface with a network of conduits (roads and neurons, respectively) connecting its disparate parts. Because both cities and brains are under selection pressures to make their connections efficiently, we investigate the hypothesis that the organization of city highway networks and the mammalian neocortex may be governed by common principles. Here we measure how city highway networks vary with city size and find that, consistent with the hypothesis, highway networks scale with exponents nearly identical to those found for the analogous quantities in the neocortex. As a function of surface area, the number of conduits scales approximately as the 3/4 power, the number of “leaves” (highway exits and synapses) scales approximately as the 9/8 power, propagation velocity scales approximately as the 1/8 power, and total conduit surface area scales approximately as the 11/8 power. We also find that city population scales as the 1.46 power of surface area, potentially driven by the total surface area of highways. We discuss the extent to which explanations for neocortical scaling can be extended to cities.
The paper is here
Here’s a little piece at ScientificBlogging.com