Human Cities Are Similar To The Human Neocortex

Cities and brains maintain interconnectedness in similar ways, according to a new study by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The study compares specific structures in cities with structures in the human neocortex.

“Natural selection has passively guided the evolution of mammalian brains throughout time, just as politicians and entrepreneurs have indirectly shaped the organization of cities large and small,” said Mark Changizi, a neurobiology expert and assistant professor in the Department of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer, who led the study. “It seems both of these invisible hands have arrived at a similar conclusion: brains and cities, as they grow larger, have to be similarly densely interconnected to function optimally.”
(Science Daily)

Here are some of the more specific results from the study:

The number of highways in a city is prima facie analogous to the number of white-matter-projecting, pyramidal neurons in neocortex... The number of highways increases in larger cities as approximately the 0.759 power of land area, similar to the exponent of 3/4 found for the number of neurons as a function of total convoluted surface area in neocortex.

Analogous to synapses in neocortex are highway exits in city highway systems (measured as the number of exits for a unidirectional traversal of all highway stretches). [The data] shows that the number of highway exits increases as about the 1.138 power of land area, or approximately as the 9/8 power... For neocortex, it is known that the total number of synapses—which scales proportionally to gray matter volume — scales approximately as the 9/8 = 1.125 power of total convoluted surface area.
(Common Scaling Laws for City Highway Systems and the Mammalian Neocortex (pdf))

The study is essentially insisting that human cities present a well-defined connection with human brains. The first time I read about the idea that alien brains might design in alien ways was in science fiction.

In his excellent 1969 novel The Man in the Maze, Robert Silverberg speculates on whether or not aliens who were very different from human beings might create different works. In the novel, telepathic alien overseers had taken over the working humans on several space colonies, and then started them working on alien projects. Alien construction and human construction thus lay side-by-side.

Screens showed him the surface picture; via template overlay he was able to compare the configurations of the outposts below with the pattern as it had been before the alien conquest.

The original settlements appeared on his screen in violet, and the recent extensions in red. Muller observed that about each of the colonies, regardless of its original ground plan, there had sprouted a network of angular streets and jagged avenues. Instinctively he recognized the geometries as alien... Aliens built in alien ways.

From Common Scaling Laws for City Highway Systems and the Mammalian Neocortex (pdf) via Science Daily

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/20/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Living Space ")

Aequoreas Floating Village 3D Printed From Ocean Junk
'... the Floating Island chain of independent international corporate entities.' - Larry Niven, 2000.

PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...' - Clifford Simak, 1952.

Rosemont Hotel Dubai Has Lobby Rainforest
'The braided waterfalls and hanging gardens that spilled down the arcology's levels..' - Paolo Bacigalupi, 2015.

Would Movable Houses Make Cities Better?
'He saw a house in the suburbs gently slide out of its place...' - Jane Webb Loudon, 1828.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...'

Project KOVR Fashion Protection From Infosphere
'... the entire shroudlike membrane took on whatever physical characteristics were projected at any nanosecond.'

Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'

'We're Not Creating A Terminator' Say Russians About Gun-Wielding Robot Fedor
Nobody is thinking about the Terminator. Westworld, maybe.

Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now that’s ninety-nine percent absorptive...'

Mercedes-Benz Autonomous Taxi Fleet In 3 Years
'... the taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings.'

Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

Someday, You Might Like VR Enough To Move In
'That barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Humans Use Mental Power For Turtle Slavery
Now we need to start looking for animals with fingers...

Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

DxtER! Tricorder Prize Won By Final Frontier Medical Devices
We've been waiting a long time for this, Star Trek fans.

President Trump's Wall As Otra Nation Hyperloop
'...an hollow tube must be constructed the whole distance... as to admit a four wheeled carriage...'

Pickup Lines From Artificial Intelligences
'They hate us, you know... The humans. They'll stop at nothing.'

Pooper Scooper Drone Robot Watchdog 1
'Robots pick up the garbage and junk...'

Cassie Robot Brings AT-ST Walker To Life
There's even a log test!

Hundreds Of Robot Lawnmowers Invade Texas Town
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.