Nav: Home

Study: Medieval cities not so different from modern European cities

October 11, 2016

Medieval cities - with their agrarian societies and simple market economies - seem very different from modern European urban centers. Life in 14th-century cities centered around hierarchical institutions such as the crown, guilds, and churches. Today, companies, technologies, and a global economy dominate our lives.

Despite the dramatic changes in economic and political structures over the last 700 years, a new look at medieval cities' population sizes and distributions suggest that some urban characteristics have remained remarkably consistent.

A paper published this week in PLOS One highlights one major similarity: in both medieval and modern European cities, larger settlements have predictably higher population densities than smaller cities.

The authors write: "This would suggest that the institutions of Western European urban systems ca. 1300 did not substantially constrain social mixing, economic integration, or the free flow of people, ideas, and information."

In short, the social dynamics enabled by medieval cities were fundamentally similar to those of contemporary cities.

The authors analyzed data from 173 medieval cities from across Western Europe, finding that these data show statistically indistinguishable community grouping patterns among medieval capital cities in Italy, England, France, and Belgium and much younger European cities.

On the macro, institutional level, modern and historical cities may look very different, says Bettencourt. We are now finding that what we know about contemporary urban processes may be applicable to the past because of similarities in micro-level behaviors and the effects they have on the larger system, he says.
-end-
The authors include Rudolf Cesaretti (Arizona State University), José Lobo (ASU), Bettencourt (Santa Fe Institute and ASU), Ortman (University of Colorado Boulder and SFI), and Michael E. Smith (ASU). All are collaborators in the Center for Biosocial Complexity, a Santa Fe Institute partnership with Arizona State University that sponsored the work, and the SFI-inspired Social Reactors Project centered at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Santa Fe Institute

Related Authors Analyzed Data Articles:

NASA analyzed powerful Tropical Cyclone Donna's extreme rainfall
Tropical Cyclone Donna was one of the most powerful out-of-season tropical cyclones ever recorded in the southern hemisphere and generated extreme amounts of rainfall along its path.
Massive, computer-analyzed geological database reveals chemistry of ancient ocean
A study that used a new digital library and machine reading system to suck the factual marrow from millions of geologic publications dating back decades has unraveled a longstanding mystery of ancient life: Why did easy-to-see and once-common structures called stromatolites essentially cease forming over the long arc of earth history?
Journal of Dairy Science® honors most prolific authors
As part of the centennial celebration for the Journal of Dairy Science, individuals who have authored or coauthored 100 or more papers in the journal will be inaugurated into JDS Club 100 at the 2017 American Dairy Science Association® Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa.
NASA's GPM analyzed rainfall in ex-Tropical Cyclone 11S
Ex-tropical cyclone 11S was still generating some heavy rainfall, despite losing its tropical status and becoming a sub-tropical storm when the GPM core satellite passed overhead.
Four SAGE Publishing authors honored by the Textbook and Academic Authors Association
SAGE Publishing is pleased to announce that four authors received awards from the Textbook and Academic Authors Association (TAA).
What did Big Data find when it analyzed 150 years of British history?
What could be learned about the world if you could read the news from over 100 local newspapers for a period of 150 years?
Authors of year's best books in mathematics honored
Prizes for the year's best books in mathematics were awarded to Ian Stewart and Tim Chartier by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) on Jan.
Wiley becomes first major publisher to require ORCID IDs for submitting authors
John Wiley & Sons Inc. (NYSE: JWa and JWb), announced plans to require ORCID iDs as part of the manuscript submission process for a large number of journals.
Psychology paper authors range from Dr. Phil to the Dalai Lama
Steven Jay Lynn, distinguished professor of psychology and director of the Psychological Clinic at Binghamton University, and Scott O.
Springer's LOD platform offers new service for authors and conference organizers
Springer Nature is offering a new feature on its Linked Open Data (LOD) platform.

Related Authors Analyzed Data Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...