Louis Bettencourt A Science of Cities Professor Dr Luis Bettencourt Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico, USA

Abstract: The study of cities immediately brings up most of the complex questions inherent to understanding human social systems in terms of their extreme complexity and evolvability. Yet, over the last few years increasing accessibility of data and a more interdisciplinary focus have started to pay off and reveal the nature of cities as complex adaptive systems, describable by quantitative laws about their general organization and dynamics. In this talk I will review the current empirical understanding of the structure and dynamics of cities in terms of their land use, social organization and mobility costs. I will show how this evidence can be synthesized in terms of a small set of quantitative principles of self-organization and how, in this light, we can understand the type of information processing cities perform in human societies. I will conclude with a set of open challenges for a deeper understanding of cities as computational networks that when addressed will form the basis of a mature science of cities and of other complex adaptive systems.