Luís M A Bettencourt

Luís M A Bettencourt
University of Chicago | UC · Department of Ecology & Evolution

Doctor of Philosophy

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251
Publications
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11,235
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Publications

Publications (251)
Preprint
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Understanding the statistical dynamics of growth and inequality is a fundamental challenge to ecology and society. Recent analyses of wealth and income dynamics in contemporary societies show that economic inequality is very dynamic and that individuals experience substantially different growth rates over time. However, despite a fast growing body...
Book
La falta de datos en las áreas informales de las ciudades es una gran limitación para la gestión de políticas públicas, afectando a todos los ámbitos de la gestión, desde la capacidad de hacer un buen diagnóstico de los problemas en la población más vulnerable, hasta la evaluación de la efectividad de los programas de desarrollo. Esta monografía ab...
Article
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Sustainable urban systems (SUS) science is a new science integrating work across established and emerging disciplines, using diverse methods, and addressing issues at local, regional, national, and global scales. Advancing SUS requires the next generation of scholars and practitioners to excel at synthesis across disciplines and possess the skills...
Article
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It is commonly assumed that cities are detrimental to mental health. However, the evidence remains inconsistent and at most, makes the case for differences between rural and urban environments as a whole. Here, we propose a model of depression driven by an individual’s accumulated experience mediated by social networks. The connection between obser...
Technical Report
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Report on the Conference held at Argonne National Laboratory on April 14, 2021
Article
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This study is among the first to investigate whether patterns of access to basic services could explain the disproportionately severe impact of COVID-19 in slums. Using geolocated containment zones and COVID-19 case data for Mumbai, India’s most populous city, we find that cases and case fatality rates are higher in slums compared to formal residen...
Article
Full-text available
The emergence of India as an urbanized nation is one of the most significant socioeconomic and political processes of the 21st century. An essential feature of India’s urbanization has been the growth and persistence of slums in its fast-developing cities. Whether living conditions in Indian slums constitute a path to human development or a poverty...
Article
Full-text available
Presently, many island communities are largely dependent on fossil fuel resources for energy, leaving the abundance of renewable energy resources largely untapped. Although various solar energy potential modeling tools have been developed, most require high-resolution data, which do not presently exist for many developing countries or remote areas....
Article
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The current outbreak of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented global health and economic threat to interconnected human societies. Strategies for controlling the outbreak rely on social distancing and face covering measures which largely disconnect the social network fabric of cities. We demonstrate that early in the US outbreak, COVID-19 spread faster o...
Chapter
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Many forms of ambient data in cities are starting to become available that allows tracking of short-term urban operations, such as traffic management, trash collections, inspections, or non-emergency maintenance requests. However, arguably the greatest promise of urban analytics is to set up measurable objectives and track progress toward systemic...
Article
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Crime is a costly societal issue. While many factors influence urban crime, one less-studied but potentially important factor is neighborhood greenspace. Research has shown that greenspace is often negatively associated with crime. Measuring residents’ use of greenspace, as opposed to mere physical presence, is critical to understanding this associ...
Article
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Key insights on needs in urban regional governance - Global urbanization (the increasing concentration in urban settlements of the increasing world population), is a driver and accelerator of shifts in diversity, new cross-scale interactions, decoupling from ecological processes, increasing risk and exposure to shocks. Responding to the challenges...
Article
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Societal responses to crises require coordination at multiple levels of organization. Exploring early efforts to contain COVID-19 in the U.S., we argue that local governments can act to ensure systemic resilience and recovery when higher-level governments fail to do so. Event history analyses show that large, more urban areas experience COVID-19 mo...
Thesis
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Jobs disappear, jobs are created, work changes, in a geographically uneven way. Some places cope better with adverse events that threaten its labour force into unemployment. Some places end up having better jobs. Why? Labour dynamics are particular of each place, influenced by a myriad of local factors, such as the type of jobs in each city. But jo...
Article
Full-text available
The recent growth of high-resolution spatial data, especially in developing urban environments, is enabling new approaches to civic activism, urban planning and the provision of services necessary for sustainable development. A special area of great potential and urgent need deals with urban expansion through informal settlements (slums). These nei...
Preprint
Full-text available
The recent growth of high-resolution spatial data, especially in developing urban environments, is enabling new approaches to civic activism, urban planning and the provision of services necessary for sustainable development. A special area of great potential and urgent need deals with urban expansion through informal settlements (slums). These nei...
Article
Full-text available
Urban areas exist in a wide variety of population sizes, from small towns to huge megacities. No proposed form for the statistical distribution of city sizes has received more attention than Zipf's law, a Pareto distribution with power law exponent equal to one. However, this distribution is typically violated by empirical evidence for small and la...
Preprint
Full-text available
It is commonly assumed that cities are detrimental to mental health. However, the evidence remains inconsistent and, at most, makes the case for differences between rural and urban environments as a whole. Here, we propose a model of depression driven by an individual's accumulated experience mediated by social networks. The connection between obse...
Preprint
Societal responses to crises require coordination at multiple levels of organization. Exploring early efforts to contain COVID-19 in the U.S., we argue that local governments can act to ensure systemic resilience and recovery when higher-level governments fail to do so. Event history analyses show that large, more urban areas experience COVID-19 mo...
Article
Full-text available
African American (AA) men experience more than twice the prostate cancer mortality as White men yet are under-represented in academic research involving prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a biomarker of prostate cancer aggressiveness. We examined the impact of self-reported tobacco (cigarette pack-years and current tobacco use including e-cigarettes)...
Article
Full-text available
Urban theory models cities as spatial equilibria to derive their aggregate properties as functions of extensive variables, such as population size. However, this assumption seems at odds with cities’ most interesting properties as engines of fast and variable processes of growth and change. Here, we build a general statistical dynamics of cities ac...
Article
African American (AA) populations experience persistent health disparities in the USA. Low representation in bio-specimen research precludes stratified analyses and creates challenges in studying health outcomes among AA populations. Previous studies examining determinants of bio-specimen research participation among minority participants have focu...
Preprint
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We consider a single outbreak susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) model and corresponding estimation procedures for the effective reproductive number $\mathcal{R}(t)$. We discuss the estimation of the underlying SIR parameters with a generalized least squares (GLS) estimation technique. We do this in the context of appropriate statistical models f...
Article
Urban agglomeration economies make cities central to theories of modern economic growth. There is historical evidence for the presence of Smithian growth and agglomeration effects in English towns c.1450-1670, but seminal assessments deny the presence of agglomeration effects and productivity gains to Early Modern English towns. This study evaluate...
Preprint
Full-text available
The current outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) poses an unprecedented global health and economic threat to interconnected human societies. Until a vaccine is developed, strategies for controlling the outbreak rely on aggressive social distancing. These measures largely disconnect the social network fabric of human societies, espe...
Article
Full-text available
Scaling is a general analytical framework used by many disciplines—from physics to biology and the social sciences—to characterize how population-averaged properties of a collective vary with its size. The observation of scale invariance over some range identifies general system types, be they ideal gases, ecosystems or cities. The use of scaling i...
Article
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Urban science seeks to understand the fundamental processes that drive, shape and sustain cities and urbanization. It is a multi/transdisciplinary approach involving concepts, methods and research from the social, natural, engineering and computational sciences, along with the humanities. This report is intended to convey the current “state of the...
Article
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Comparative studies of cities throughout history are one of the greatest sources of insight into the nature of change in human societies. This paper discusses strategies to anchor these comparisons on well-defined, quantitative and empirical characteristics of cities, derived from theory and observable in the archeological and historical records. W...
Preprint
Full-text available
Crime is costly economically, socially, and psychologically for all societies, especially in urban areas. While there are many well-studied environmental and social influences on crime such as poverty and marginalization, one less studied, but important factor is the effect of neighborhood greenspace. Prior research has shown that greenspace is neg...
Article
Full-text available
A general explanatory framework for the social processes underpinning urbanisation should account for empirical regularities that are shared among contemporary urban systems and ancient settlement systems known throughout archaeology and history. The identification of such shared properties has been facilitated by research traditions in each field...
Article
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We undertake an exploration of the economic income (gross domestic product) of Indian districts and cities based on scaling analyses of the dependence of these quantities on associated population size. Scaling analysis provides a straightforward method for the identification of network effects in socioeconomic organization, which are the tell-tale...
Article
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This is a report on the discussions held during an NSF SUS conference “Graduate Education for a New Sustainable Urban Systems Science: Designing a New PhD Curriculum Integrating Sustainability Science and Urban Science”. The conference was motivated by the call made by the NSF for “...developing the next generation of sustainable urban systems scie...
Preprint
Full-text available
The emergence of India as an urbanized nation is one of the most significant socioeconomic and political processes of the 21st century. An essential feature of India's urbanization has been the growth and persistence of informal settlements (slums) in its fast-developing cities. Whether living conditions in Indian urban slums constitute a path to h...
Article
Full-text available
Nowhere has the scale and scope of urbanization been larger than in China over the last few decades. We analyze Chinese city development between the years 1996 and 2014 using data for the urbanized components of prefecture-level cities. We show that, despite much variability and fast economic and demographic change, China is undergoing transformati...
Technical Report
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1 Urban Electrification: A Knowledge Pathway Towards an Integrated R&D Agenda Executive Summary This white paper is an outcome of a workshop on urban electrification. 2 It outlines a vision for advancing a research and development (R&D) agenda to thoroughly examine the characteristics and relationships among urbanization and electrification and cit...
Article
One of the most commonly-observed properties of human settlements, both past and present, is the tendency for larger settlements to display higher population densities. Work in urban science and archaeology suggests this densification pattern reflects an emergent spatial equilibrium where individuals balance movement costs with social interaction b...
Article
Full-text available
Cities are some of the most complex dynamical systems in human societies and in nature. There is growing interest in producing more comprehensive quantitative theory, capable of describing many of the features now observable in urban environments, especially those that show empirical regularities across cities of different sizes, geographies, and l...
Article
Full-text available
Urban form, infrastructure and spatial organisation in the Roman Empire - Volume 93 Issue 369 - John W. Hanson, Scott G. Ortman, Luís M.A. Bettencourt, Liam C. Mazur
Article
Full-text available
This paper attempts to create a first comprehensive analysis of the integrated characteristics of contemporary Indian cities, using scaling and geographical analysis over a set of diverse indicators. We use data of urban agglomerations in India from the Census 2011 and from a few other sources to characterize patterns of urban population density, i...
Preprint
Full-text available
We undertake an exploration of the economic income (Gross Domestic Product, GDP) of Indian districts and cities based on scaling analyses of the dependence of these quantities on associated population size. Scaling analysis provides a straightforward method for the identification of network effects in socioeconomic organization, which are the tell-...
Article
Full-text available
Never in history have we built so much, in so many different places. Population growth, urbanization, and technological change are all pushing us to conceive and design spaces in human societies in new and better ways, aiming toward more environmentally sustainable and socially equitable human settlements. Much of what is happening in the fastest-g...
Chapter
There is growing interest in the systematic scientific understanding of cities and urbanization due to an increase in data availability about many aspects of urban life throughout the world, as well as ready access to more powerful computation and modeling capabilities. Cities are manifestly complex systems in that social, economic, health and othe...
Chapter
Island systems present a singular opportunity for understanding processes of human development and for exploring the conditions that can make such processes sustainable. In this chapter, I attempt to summarize many of the points made throughout this book to provide a methodology for achieving sustainable development in island systems, such as the G...
Chapter
This chapter investigates the scales of socioeconomic organization relevant for transitions to sustainability and how they may be changing. This investigation then frames an analysis of the current situation and prospects of the Galapagos Islands, particularly with respect to their urbanization vis-à-vis their extraordinary ecosystems. Can the deve...
Chapter
Human settlements and cities, more particularly, are increasingly seen as complex adaptive systems, where collective social and economic dynamics emerge through the interactions of many individuals over structured built environments. This dynamical perspective is essential for understanding how human settlements form and grow and how their dynamics...
Technical Report
Full-text available
What follows here is the Panel’s call for a global urban science. This call takes the three elements of this phrase in a different light from the often popular and at times unnuanced use if the terms. It is ‘global’ in a cosmopolitan sense as pertaining to and reaching out worldwide, irrespective of socio-economic status to the variety of urban con...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper attempts to create a first comprehensive analysis of the integrated characteristics of contemporary Indian cities, using scaling and geographic analysis over a set of diverse indicators. We use data at the level of Urban Agglomerations in India from the Census 2011 and from a few other sources to characterize patterns of urban population...
Article
Full-text available
The world is urbanizing quickly with nearly 4 billion people presently living in urban areas, about 1 billion of them in slums. Achieving sustainable development from rapid urbanization relies critically on creating cities without slums. We show that it is possible to diagnose systematically the central physical problem of slums—the lack of spatial...