Search This Blog

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The sameness of organisms, cities and corporations: Q&A with Geoffrey West

Dr.Geoffrey West is lecturing at SDMA but you can read this Q&A from his Ted Lecture which touches on the DNA of Cities. Very interesting to think of cities and countries as well as companies as organisms. Mr. West if a Theoretical physicist and expert on the fundamental laws of cities,

The sameness of organisms, cities, and corporations: Q&A with Geoffrey West

You may also want to check out the article in the New York Times in which he is quoted:

West says. “What the data clearly shows, and what she (Jane Jacobs) was clever enough to anticipate, is that when people come together, they become much more productive.”

“It’s like being on a treadmill that keeps on getting faster,” West says. “We used to get a big revolution every few thousand years. And then it took us a century to go from the steam engine to the internal-­combustion engine. Now we’re down to about 15 years between big innovations. What this means is that, for the first time ever, people are living through multiple revolutions. And this all comes from cities. Once we started to urbanize, we put ourselves on this treadmill. We traded away stability for growth. And growth requires change.”

West speaks of the impermanence of the corporation but unlike companies, which are managed in a top-down fashion by a team of highly paid executives, cities are unruly places, largely immune to the desires of politicians and planners. “Think about how powerless a mayor is,” West says. “They can’t tell people where to live or what to do or who to talk to. Cities can’t be managed, and that’s what keeps them so vibrant. They’re just these insane masses of people, bumping into each other and maybe sharing an idea or two. It’s the freedom of the city that keeps it alive.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Locations of visitors to this page