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Predicting Urban Crime? There's an Equation for That

Complete video at: Theoretical physicist Geoffrey B. West discusses his work developing a model to formulate predictions about a city based solely on its size. His equations can predict "mundane" properties like the number of gas stations in any given urban system, but can also be used to predict everything from wages to crime rates. ----- Why Cities Keep on Growing, Corporations Always Die, and Life Gets Faster As organisms, cities, and companies scale up, they all gain in efficiency, but then they vary. The bigger an organism, the slower. Yet the bigger a city is, the faster it runs. And cities are structurally immortal, while corporations are structurally doomed. Scaling up always creates new problems; cities can innovate faster than the problems indefinitely, while corporations cannot. These revolutionary findings come from Geoffrey West's examination of vast quantities of data on the metabolic/economic behavior of organisms and organizations. A theoretical physicist, West was president of Santa Fe Institute from 2005 to 2009 and founded the high energy physics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. - The Long Now Foundation Geoffrey West (b. 1940) is a physicist. He was born in a rural town in western England and moved to London when he was 13. He received a bachelor's degree in physics from Cambridge and pursued graduate studies in California at Stanford. He eventually became a Stanford faculty member before he joined the particle theory group at New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory. After Los Alamos, he became president of the Santa Fe Institute, where he works on biological issues (such as power laws in biology such as the allometric law). He has since been honored as one of Time magazine's "Time 100."
Length: 06:02


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