Baltimore’s Urbanite Magazine Explores Big Urban Theory
Big Number Theory for the City. In the second piece, headlined with numbers substituting for some of the letters, a la a clever high security Internet password, the allometric theory of cities is central. This theory, exemplified by the work of West and Bettencourt, indicates that the major properties of cities are a mathematical function of their size. Comparing cities worldwide, they discovered that for each doubling in population, the infrastructure of a city increases only 85%. Some functions, such as carbon footprints, also increase at the same proportion, reflecting the efficiency of dense urban development. Crime, gross domestic product, income, and innovation as measured by patents, increase on the same trend – more than a 15% advantage compared to the expectation based on a simple linear relationship. So both positives and negatives have the same quantitative relationships to urban population density.