How data could save cities from outgrowing themselves

June 26, 2012 No Comments

According to physicist Geoffrey West, the world’s cities have what one might call a growing problem. As they grow bigger, their problems grow worse at a super-linear pace, which means it takes an ever-faster pace of innovation to keep things in check. We can either figure out a way to innovate faster, watch our cities crash and burn, or — perhaps worst of all for capitalists — figure out a way to live without constant economic growth. West says the scientist in him doesn’t see us being able to innovate fast enough, but I think big data might be the key to making that happen.

The problem is cities themselves

I heard West espouse his theory at The Economist‘s Ideas Economy: Information event in early June, but you can read about it in this in-depth interview he did with Edge last year. Here’s a very simple explanation for a very complex theory that involved analyzing lots and lots of data.

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