This long article in the New York Times explains why theoretical physicist Geoffrey West – as well as Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Michael Bloomberg – has turned his attention to cities. The article mentions the two writers on the city who most interest me: Jane Jacobs and Lewis Mumford. I’m intrigued by the idea of “urban science” because I see more and more evidence that the sciences and social sciences need to be integrated. We also need to bring in creative economists (I know, that sounds weird, but I’m fairly sure that such people exist) because urban economies are very complicated indeed.
Furthermore, the pace of urbanization is accelerating as people all over the world flee the countryside and flock to the crowded street.This relentless urban growth has led to a renewed interest in cities in academia and in government. In February 2009, President Obama established the first White House Office of Urban Affairs, which has been told to develop a