Urban thrall

RadioLab has just released a fantastic edition on how we become behaviourally enmeshed in cities and how they operate almost like independent organisms.

As always, the programme is like being wrapped in a shimmering fabric of sound and this edition looks at our relationship with the urban sprawl, from the link between the size of the city and how fast we talk, to how the infrastructure reflects the society that relies on it.

There’s no scientific metric for measuring a city’s personality. But step out on the sidewalk, and you can see and feel it. Two physicists explain one tidy mathematical formula that they believe holds the key to what drives a city. Yet math can’t explain most of the human-scale details that make urban life unique. So we head out in search of what the numbers miss, and meet a reluctant city dweller, a man who’s walked 700 feet below Manhattan, and a once-thriving community that’s slipping away.

 

Link to RadioLab on cities.

2 Comments

  1. charlie
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Radiolab, much like Mindhacks, kicks ass. Thanks for the link.

  2. Posted November 7, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ll just say “me, too” to Charlie’s comment.
    Radiolabs is such a strange and wonderful beast. Their willingness to report what they learn from talking to experts without having everything be certain, finished, and the “next big thing” is a wonderful and refreshing change compared to the usual breathless reporting. They do like Oliver Sacks a little more than makes sense but he does tell great stories.


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