City Lessons (06-24-20)

People designing and managing cities today can benefit from learning about life in ancient settlements. A research group headed by Schott Ortman at the University of Colorado Boulder published a study in Science Advances:  “Ortman and Jose Lobo from Arizona State University took a deep dive into data from the farming towns that dotted the Rio Grande Valley between the 14th and 16th centuries. Modern metropolises should take note: As the Pueblo villages grew bigger and denser, their per capita production of food and other goods seemed to go up, too. Busy streets, in other words, may lead to better-off citizens. . . . When villages got more populous, their residents seemed to get better off on average. . . . Living spaces grew in size and families collected more painted pottery. . . . Every time villages doubled in size, markers of economic growth increased by about 16% on average.  . . . these Pueblo communities hold an important lesson for modern-day societies: the more people can connect with others, the more prosperous they become.”

“Ancient Societies Hold Lessons for Modern Cities.”  2020. Press release, University of Colorado Boulder (Daniel Strain),