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April 19, 2007

The bigger the city the better

photo of Times Square by Christopher Chan, http://www.flickr.com/photos/chanc/463830261/

One of the great cliches in the arts is that people driven by creativity migrate to large cities. Think of all of the stories you've heard...Dylan moving to New York City, Picasso moving to Paris, Jackie Chan moving to Hong Kong, blisteringly fast African guitarists moving to Kinshasa. Now some researchers have quantified the relationship between city size and creativity.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and titled "Growth, innovation, scaling and the pace of life in cities", shows that the bigger the city becomes the more creative it becomes (they quantified creativity by looking at statistics like the number of patents issued, number of "creative" jobs, and number of people working in R&D). And the rise in creativity increases faster than the population, so a city twice as large tends to be more than twice as creative. Meanwhile a city's negative aspects (things like waste created and power and water used) do not rise as quickly. In short, the bigger the city, the more bang for your buck.

According to Jose lobo, an economist at Arizona State University and one of the paper's authors, "Cities are really one of the most important innovations in humans history... We need a different perspective about cities, one that is away from thinking of large cities as a source of problems but as possible sources of solutions."

(Thanks physorg.com)

(Photo by Christopher Chan/flickr.com)

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at April 19, 2007 10:38 PM


Excellent article and thanks for using my photo.



Posted by: Christopher Chan at April 20, 2007 05:00 PM