Auckland is getting ready for a Super City but does it mean we will have a super city. Does big really mean more efficient and better?
Is big greener? Yes -in terms of the number of petrol stations they have for the number of people, but keep reading!
Of course cities would be a lot more green, Cityhop would like to see council’s give individuals an incentive to drive less. Perhaps a congestion charge will do this?
Anyway car share company Cityhop’s favourite website had an interesting blog recently on whether cities really are as efficient as we think.
Terrapass asks for instance, if one city is 10 times as populous as another one, does it need 10 times as many gas stations? No. Bigger cities have more gas stations than smaller ones (of course), but not nearly in direct proportion to their size.
The number of gas stations grows only in proportion to the 0.77 power of population. The crucial thing is that 0.77 is less than 1. This implies that the bigger a city is, the fewer gas stations it has per person. Put simply, bigger cities enjoy economies of scale. In this sense, bigger is greener.
The same pattern holds for other measures of infrastructure. Whether you measure miles of roadway or length of electrical cables, you find that all of these also decrease, per person, as city size increases. And all show an exponent between 0.7 and 0.9.
Now comes the spooky part. The same law is true for living things. That is, if you mentally replace cities by organisms and city size by body weight, the mathematical pattern remains the same.
We will let you explore the maths and biology issues in the Terrapass site. It got us thinking….