CEOs for CITIES — Cities act just like creatures. They obey the same metabolic laws that govern every organism. Which means that cities, just like elephants, get more economical with size.
It turns out that every city is simply a scaled version of the same city. A city can double its population without doubling its resource consumption.
President of Santa Fe Institute Geoffrey West told (the terrific science and culture magazine) Seed, “One of the basic principles of cities is that it’s more efficient to bring people together. You need a little bit less of everything per person. It’s the exact same way in biology.”
While most of us imagine idyllic rural America as the epitome of sustainable living, conventional wisdom is exactly backward. “Cities are bastions of environmentalism,” according to West and his collaborator Luis Bettencourt. “People who live in densely populated places lead environmentally friendly lives. They consume fewer resources per person and take up less space. And because efficiency scales with the size of the population, big cities are always more efficient than small cities.”