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The surprising math of cities and corporations

"Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities — that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city's population. In this mind-bending talk from TEDGlobal he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, December 4, 2014 2:44 PM

While corporations rise and fall, it is quite rare for a city to entirely fail as an economic system.  Huge cities have some negative consequences, but the networks that operate in the city function more efficiently on economies of scale in a way that offsets the negatives.  Increasing a city's population will continue to improve the economies of scale (larger cities have higher wages per capita, more creative employment per capita, etc.).  However, this growth requires major technological innovations to sustain long-term growth.  

 

Tagsurban, planningmegacities, industry, economic, scaleTED, video.

Built 4 Betterness Ed van den Berg's curator insight, December 14, 2014 3:17 PM

Not surprisingly the DNA of cities is a follow-up of human DNA and understanding this will explain and predict how the body of a city will develop!

SRA's curator insight, April 16, 2:10 AM

The idea that cities are just organisms that are satisfying the laws of biology is interesting. Especially because Physicist Geoffrey West brings the idea of Scalability which by definition is, the ability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work in a capable manner or its ability to be enlarged to accommodate that growth. What’s mind blowing to me is that the system that is referred to here is human interaction.  We create these cities through our interaction and experience. With a growth rate of 1,000,000 people every year the math adds up to an agreeable 15% rise in income levels, patents, and super creative people every year which is undoubted a win for civilization and society. But with that we must keep in mind also this means a 15% increase in things like deadly disease, crime, poverty, and ecological issues leading to further degradation of our planet. This unbounded growth means the system is destined to collapse. The math behind cities doesn't lie if we don’t prepare cities have a fate to die like every other organism in Biology. So it is up to us to create and innovate to sustain this growth and avoid the collapse. But we must do so at a forever increasing pace. Which subsequently is also part of another system predetermined to collapse. What I mean is what happens when we cannot innovate fast enough to sustain this growth?


- Caleb Beckett

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The Growth of Megacities

The Growth of Megacities | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"For the first time in human history, more of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in cities than in rural areas. That is an incredible demographic and geographic shift since 1950 when only 30 percent of the world’s 2.5 billion inhabitants lived in urban environments.

 

The world’s largest cities, particularly in developing countries, are growing at phenomenal rates. As a growing landless class is attracted by urban opportunities, meager as they might be, these cities’ populations are ballooning to incredible numbers.

 

A May 2010 Christian Science Monitor article on “megacities” predicted that by 2050, almost 70 percent of the world’s estimated 10 billion people—more than the number of people living today—will reside in urban areas. The social, economic and environmental problems associated with a predominantly urbanized population are considerably different from those of the mostly rural world population of the past."


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Arya Okten's curator insight, March 27, 2014 10:23 PM

Unit VII

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, April 28, 2014 10:40 AM

unit 7

Whitney Souery's curator insight, May 28, 2014 6:48 PM

The majority of megacities are in the developing world, with the exception of places like New York and Tokyo, best showing how the face of the world is changing. Developing countries are on their paths to becoming major powers, such as Calkutta for example. As an enlarging city, more and more citizens are flocking to the abundance of jobs in the city which thus increases India's development as a result of the growing city and thus leads to a cycle of growth as demand for more jobs increases as the city grows. Megacities are thus a symbol of the developing world and can be used in human geography as symbols of development. 

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Beijing's Pollution

Beijing's Pollution | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 24, 2014 2:21 PM

Great picture to show the two sectors of China's society. In Beijing we see the combination of industry and post industrialized. 

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, November 24, 2014 11:40 PM

This picture taken by a photographer with the perfect lighting is brilliant....that is, if you're into deceiving people that the pollution from these power plants stays away from the higher class businesses and residences.  Looking at this picture you see the smoke coming from the power plant in China far in the distance creating a yellowish hue that could be thought to be from the sun.  Then closer in the scene we see what appears to be businesses and potentially some peoples homes.  This area is in a totally different color from the yellow we see to be associated with the pollution from the power plant.  Here we see a blue, commonly associated with clean water, covering the entirety of this area.  With the difference in colors these places seem to be as different as possible from each other.  In reality though, smog doesn't just stay in one area of the city where it is produced, but spreads throughout the entirety of a city.  There are no restraints on where the pollution can and can't be, it is free flowing into communities where people work and live.  If you're trying to sell a house here this picture wouldn't be a bad idea to use, although most natives aren't oblivious to what is really going on.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 8:00 PM

This picture is interesting to say the least, it depicts two different cities, even though it is the same city. the picture does a good job at showing the major problem that pollution is causing to Beijing. While showing a smog surrounded city behind a clean, yet clouded looking city, drives this point of pollution home and raises the question is putting large factories and toxic fumes in the air, more important than the well being of your citizens?

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Megacities Reflect Growing Urbanization Trend

Read the Transcript: http://to.pbs.org/b6sR86 The capital of the South Asian country Bangladesh, Dhaka, has a population that is booming. However, it stands ...

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Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 1, 2014 2:44 PM

It is very sad that people have to move to a polluted, crowded mess of a place in order to get a better life. The man says at the end that if they can make it work in Dhaka, they could make it work in any city but the beginning is too monumental to get over. I think that maybe some government control over the outer limits of the city and offering a place nearby with some resources may allow more control over the growth of the city at least temporarily.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 8:50 PM

To be a megacity like this, you have to conform to urbanization. There is no possible way to have such a populated and crowed city with farmlands around. This is a place of business yet residential areas, it also is where the marketplaces are and where kids go to school. Megacities need to be a part of an urban society in order for them to stay afloat.

Bec Seeto's curator insight, October 30, 2014 6:07 PM

This is a great introduction to the demographic explosion of the slums within megacities.  This is applicable to many themes within geography.   

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This Is the Traffic Capital of the World

This Is the Traffic Capital of the World | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
There are only 650 major intersections here—but somehow only 60 traffic lights.

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Jared Medeiros's curator insight, April 22, 6:46 PM

The fact that traffic accounts for $3.8 billion in costs is a simply a staggering figure.  I can't stand being in traffic for 5 minutes never mind multiple hours every day just to get a mile or two down the street.  With population so high in these megacities, its astonishing to see that the governments of these cities are not focusing more on the infrastructure to stabilize the traffic.  Im sure this in turn effects the economy and the lives of all individuals involved.

Jacob Conklin's curator insight, May 6, 4:05 PM

Anyone who has driven through Boston or New York City has shouted inordinate amounts of profanity and expletives at traffic and traffic lights, or wished that they would just get rid of them. In Dhaka, there are over 600 intersections without traffic lights, and with it comes delays, pollution, and in all likelihood, astronomical blood pressure levels. The lack of traffic signals is not the true culprit here, but dense population in the area and, according to locals, rickshaws. Rickshaws move too slowly and block buses and cars from moving. The obvious solution is to build car-only lanes and widen roads, but that cost time and money they country is not willing to invest. In the mean time, Bangladesh is stuck with toxic fumes and road rage. 

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 7, 8:52 AM

Driving during rush hour in places like Boston, New York, or Los Angeles can be enough to make any American driver impatient and anxious. Multiply that congestion, anger, impatience, and frustration by ten and you'll have some idea of what the traffic situation is like in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As one of the world's megacities, Dhaka has an enormous population that grows more and more every year. Like in every major city, there are millions of people who must get to work, school, the market, and home everyday. Dhaka, however, lacks not only the physical infrastructure to support these commuters, but the political and economic infrastructure as well. Attempts by the government to fix the traffic problem would inevitably alienate everyone from rickshaw drivers to car owners to bus companies to policemen. All of these entities are important components in the everyday commute for citizens of Dhaka. 

 

While this article deals with the traffic problem in Dhaka and Dhaka alone, to think that it is only a problem there would be a grave misjudgment. In a world that is growing faster than it ever has before, new megacities are cropping up all the time. In many cases, these cities can be found in developing countries that are becoming the new centers of industry and trade. As a result, the physical, political, and economic infrastructure to support these enormous population booms just does not exist. Problems that these enormous daily traffic jams produce concern huge losses of money and sharp decreases in quality of life. Poverty and an increase in the number of slums is also a concern, as many workers are forced to live wherever they can so they can walk to work everyday. The traffic problem in Dhaka, therefore, is representative of the problems facing many emerging megacities. Many local and national governments are unable to implement solutions that would have significant impacts on the issues that face their cities. So though Dhaka's traffic problem may seem unique, its causes and potential solutions should be watched closely by other emerging megacities around the world. 

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NatGeo Feature: Megacities

NatGeo Feature: Megacities | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"By 2030, two out of three people will live in an urban world, with most of the explosive growth occurring in developing countries. For a preview of the future, the last in the Challenges for Humanity series explores São Paulo, Brazil; Lagos, Nigeria; Bangkok, Thailand; and Hyderabad, India."


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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, December 8, 2014 1:07 PM

As Bangkok, Thailand is slotted to be one of the up an coming biggest cities in the world it puts Thailand on the map.  People see that the clothes they wear were made in Thailand and we think of a sweatshop in a far east country where children are laboring away for long hours making little money.  Although this was true in the past, we see now that it isn't like that.   These cities are where a lot of people are crammed together and live, yes, but also full of people who are looking forward to a better life.  These people have hope in the future of the city that they live in and are ready to invest in the future.  When comes the time that a majority of people will live in cities these cities such as Bangkok will already be developed and thriving, a major plus for the people already living and working here. 

Daniel Lindahl's curator insight, May 25, 2:06 PM

This article provides multiple resources that illustrate how cities will continue to grow and shape geography in the future. Megacities will become a commonplace all over the world as more and more countries become developed. 

Elle Reagan's curator insight, May 26, 9:38 PM

I thought this article was good as it gave information on how the world as we know it is growing and cities are popping up everywhere. Developing countries are seeing a large increase in growth and with that comes the growth of cities. With this, more megacities will be born and hopefully the quality of life increases with life in cities.

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Urbanization and Megacities: Jakarta

"This case study examines the challenges of human well-being and urbanization, especially in the megacity of Jakarta."


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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 16, 2014 5:16 PM

In megacities, such as Jakarta, urbanization brings about many problems for local residents. The areas are crowded and residents get little to no income. An Australian organization works to help the people of Jakarta by giving them advice,food and helping where necessary. With this help, families are able to keep their spirits higher and hope that their children will live better lives than the ways that they were brought up.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 18, 2014 8:10 PM

Jakarta is the capitol of Indonesia and now has a population of over 28 million. Urbanization is bringing serious problems to Indonesia’s only mega city, such as poor access to clean water and housing, and overpopulation. Some people, including the young woman in this video are living with 16 or more people in one house. It seems the city is not providing enough affordable housing for its residents.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 1, 2014 2:25 PM

It is nice to see an organization that is not just blindly giving resources to people in need but actually empowering them and training them to be able to get the things they need through work. The women in this story describe how they have learned to make and sell things in order to take care of their families and they describe how empowering that feels.

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Global cities of the future

Global cities of the future | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

Explore the cities and emerging urban clusters that will drive dramatic growth and demographic changes over the next generation. A McKinsey Quarterly Economic Studies article.

 

In the next 13 years, 600 cities will account for nearly 65 percent of global GDP growth. That is reason enough to explore this global dataset with over 2,600 metropolitan areas. 


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