[ExI] Are Cities Dead? (was Re: moving bits, not butts)

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Mar 2 11:06:58 UTC 2011

On Tue, Mar 01, 2011 at 07:25:58PM -0800, Damien Sullivan wrote:

> Cities are also good for enabling you to live a mile away from your
> neighbor.  If the population was evenly spread over the Earth's land

In terms of infrastructure minimax you want to create spherical assemblies,
but static, power dissipation and need to power (each US-American
has a 11 kW metabolism, equal to a blue whale basal metabolic
rate) by solar flux alone would probably result in flatter assemblies.

> surface in a square grid, there'd be a person every 140 meters.  If
> you allow for families and specify clumps of 4, you'd have a family
> every 280 meters.  A 3 minute walk to other people, no matter where on
> Earth you were, save the oceans.  You get space because the rest of us
> clump up.
> There's evidence that a lot of creative economic activity scales up
> super-linearly in cities, e.g. 2x the people will generate more than 2x

That's due to interactions and collaborations, which can be substituted
by telepresence in principle.

> the productivity, 15% more economic activity per capita, while using
> less than 2x the energy (only 85% more).  By contrast corporations are

I think you can grow most of your calories with 2 h daily
light garden work on ~0.05 ha/person, under optimal circumstances.
Assuming you can make single-cell algae photobioreactors work
that area might shrink a bit.

> sublinear (profit per employees shrinks with size)
> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/magazine/19Urban_West-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=a
> http://www.pnas.org/content/104/17/7301.abstract
> Arguably a safer place to raise children than outer suburbs
> http://www.grist.org/article/2010-12-27-want-a-safe-place-to-raise-kids-look-to-the-cities

USia isn't especially representative.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
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