Das städtische Dorf

CAMBRIDGE – „I want to be a part of it – New York, New York“, sang Frank Sinatra über die Stadt, die so viele der ehrgeizigsten Menschen der Welt angelockt hat und dies noch immer tut – von Künstlern und Schauspielern bis hin zu Geschäftsleuten und Bankern. In gewisser Hinsicht ist dieses Phänomen nicht schwer zu erklären; Metropolen wie New York City mit ihren multikulturellen Bevölkerungen, multinationalen Unternehmen und zahllosen talentierten Menschen bieten jede Menge Chancen. Doch die Auswirkungen der Großstädte reichen über ihre wirtschaftliche oder selbst kulturelle Kraft hinaus; Städte können das Leben der Menschen – und sogar diese Menschen selbst – grundlegend verändern.

Im Jahr 2010 entdeckte Geoffrey West zusammen mit einem Team von Wissenschaftlern, dass verschiedene sozioökonomische Messgrößen – sowohl positive wie negative – mit der Größe der örtlichen Bevölkerung zunehmen. Anders ausgedrückt: Je größer eine Stadt, desto höher der Durchschnittslohn, das Produktivitätsniveau, die Anzahl der Patente pro Person, die Verbrechensrate, das Auftreten von Angststörungen und die Inzidenz von HIV.

Tatsächlich steigt mit Verdoppelung der Größe einer Stadt jede Messgröße für die Wirtschaftsaktivität um etwa 15% pro Kopf. Dies ist der Grund, warum es Menschen in die Städte zieht – und warum Städte florieren.

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