In the past few years, a remarkable body of scientific research has begun to shed new light on the dynamic behaviour of cities, carrying important implications for city-makers.

The findings have begun to feed into recent and upcoming gatherings on the future of cities, and arming leaders in the field with new ammunition in the global battle against sprawl.

In one sense, these lessons are not so new. Legendary urbanist Jane Jacobs was famous for her prescient insights about the emerging sciences of “organized complexity”, insights she published all the way back in 1961. (In fact, physicist Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute likes to say they are just doing “Jacobs with the math.”)

Today, in an age of rapid urbanization and growing urban challenges, new findings on innovative urban planning confirm and extend Jane Jacobs’ original insights.

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