Density is Not the Issue: Santa Fe Institute Urban Scaling Research

The Santa Fe Institute urban research on city size (West, et al) has been misinterpreted by many to suggest that higher densities make cities more productive. In fact, the researchers specifically reject that finding (or any finding with respect to density). The issue is urban density thresholds, not the extent of density. For example, the Brookings Institution Global Metroolitan Monitor rates the Hartford metropolitan area as having the highest economic output per capita among the 100 most productive cities of the world. Hartford’s urban population density is slightly above that of Atlanta, the least dense large urban area in the world.

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