De Urban Village

CAMBRIDGE – ‘I want to be a part of it – New York, New York,’ zong Frank Sinatra over de stad die zoveel van ’s werelds meest ambitieuze mensen aantrekt, van kunstenaars tot zakenmensen en bankiers. In zekere zin is dit fenomeen niet lastig te verklaren: in metropolen zoals New York, met hun multiculturele bevolking, multinationale bedrijven en drommen getalenteerde individuen, zijn de mogelijkheden legio. Maar de impact van grote steden reikt dieper dan economische of zelfs culturele kracht; steden kunnen de levens van mensen fundamenteel veranderen - en zelfs de mensen zelf.

In 2010 ontdekte Geoffrey West, samen met een team onderzoekers, dat verschillende socio-economische cijfers (zowel positief als negatief) hoger worden correlerend met de omvang van de lokale bevolking. Met andere woorden: hoe groter de stad, hoe hoger het gemiddelde loon, het productieniveau, het aantal patenten per persoon, de criminaliteitscijfers, het aantal mensen met angsten en mensen met HIV.

Als een stad in omvang verdubbelt wordt elke mate van economische activiteit met ongeveer 15% per capita vergroot. Dit is de reden dat mensen naar de grote stad verhuizen en daarmee de reden dat steden kunnen bloeien.

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