Using the fact that certain features of cities consistently vary with population size, researchers in economics, physics, complexity theory, and statistical mechanics have developed a mathematical theory of cities.
The theory published by Luís Bettencourt and colleagues in the June 21 Science "captures the interplay between a city's population, its area, the properties of its infrastructure and its social connectivity," according to Science News.
The researchers come to a happy conclusion about cities:
In a nutshell, the city is the best way of creating a vast, open-ended social network that minimizes the cost of moving things in and around an environment. When people brush up against each other, that’s when the magic of the city happens — the social reactor begins to work.
Read the Science News story.