Remi Louf 14th May 2014


On Wednesday 14th May, Remi LoufInstitut de Physique Théorique, will give the talk

“How congestion shapes cities: a physicist’s perspective.”

Building 53 Room 4025, Highfield Campus, 4pm. All welcome. Refreshments served after the talk.


In a rapidly urbanising world, understanding the behaviour of cities has broad implications. Indeed, while cities are known to foster creativity and economic growth, they also engender higher crime rates and pollution levels. It is therefore crucial to quantify these effects and understand the underlying processes if we want to design effective policies and make the urban transition as smooth as possible.
Although the recent availability of data has brought fresh insights, most of the observed regularities remain unexplained. For instance, we find that quantities such as the total surface area, the total length of roads, the total daily driven distance scale non-linearly with population size. In this presentation, I will show how simple physical arguments and a bottom-up modelling approach allow us to understand these behaviours. I will discuss how, with simple approaches of this kind, we are able to identify some of the driving forces behind the evolution of urban systems. In particular, I will highlight the role of congestion, and its consequences on life in cities.