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Links August 2011

Alex Steffen gave an interesting TED talk summarising the ways that greater urban density can reduce energy use while increasing our quality of life [1].

Geoffrey West gave an interesting TED talk about the way animals, corporations, and cities scale [2]. The main factor is the way that various variables scale in proportion to size. On a logarithmic graph the growth of a city shows a steady increase in both positive factors such as wages and inventions and in negative factors such as crime as it grows larger. So it seems that we need to decrease the crime rate significantly to permit the growth of larger cities and therefore gain more efficiency.

The Mankind Project (MKP) has a mission of “redefining mature masculinity for the 21st Century” [3]. They have some interesting ideas.

Phillip Zimbardo gave a provocative TED talk about the demise of men [4]. He provided little evidence to support his claims though.

2 comments to Links August 2011

  • JS

    Greater urban density is stupid specially in areas prone to natural disasters.

  • etbe

    JS: That depends on how great the density is among other things.

    Fire ladders apparently can’t reach past the 10th floor so very tall buildings have some obvious problems in emergency situations. But there are huge amounts of urban area with an average height less than 10 stories and a lot of suburban land could be freed for agricultural use if the people had a better option of living in urban areas.

    For many types of natural disaster large buildings are better than typical houses. Most suburban houses are single-level and therefore don’t cope with floods, they aren’t designed to cope with earth-quakes, and they don’t have fire sprinklers.