Much about urban life scales to population. The larger a city gets, the less infrastructure it needs per capita. At the same time, as populations increase, problems like crime and benefits like intellectual property proliferate at an even greater rate than one-to-one (when a city doubles in size, for instance, it produces more than twice the patents).
In these reliable, mathematical ways, cities mimic nature. And yet, ironically, there is one element of cities that doesn’t seem to follow any scaling law: nature itself.
Read more in Atlantic cities.