Geoffrey West on Cities, Growth and Innovation

The Santa Fe Institute’s Geoffrey West on growth, innovation, and why companies fail but cities survive.

Doubling the size of a city results in a 15% increase in income, wealth and innovation per capita, as measured by number of patents. On the downside, crime, pollution and disease also increase by the same amount per capita in cities. As 50% of the world’s population now lives in cities, heading towards 80% in 2050, West is interested in using this data to construct a general theory of cities and social organizations that is quantitative and predictive.