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Crowded streets beget innovation (take note Phoenix)

[Source: CEOs For Cities] — Why do cities continue to grow?  And why, even in the electronic age, do they endure as wellsprings of intellectual life?  The Boston Globe believes it has found the answer.

“Recent research by scientists at the Santa Fe Institute used a set of complex mathematical algorithms to demonstrate that the very same urban features that trigger lapses in attention and memory — the crowded streets, the crushing density of people — also correlate with measures of innovation, as strangers interact with one another in unpredictable ways.  It is the ‘concentration of social interactions’ that is largely responsible for urban creativity, according to the scientists.  The density of 18th-century London may have triggered outbreaks of disease, but it also led to intellectual breakthroughs, just as the density of Cambridge — one of the densest cities in America — contributes to its success as a creative center.  One corollary of this research is that less dense urban areas, like Phoenix, may, over time, generate less innovation.”

Would-be innovators, take note.