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Knowledge Applied


Apr 2, 2018

Luis Bettencourt is a theoretical physicist by training, but rather than study black holes or string theory, he uses data to better understand cities in new and predictive ways. 

Bettencourt has spent his career studying complex systems—first as a researcher at the prestigious Santa Fe Institute and now as the inaugural director of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation. Those systems encompass any linked group of things, from ant hills to financial systems, and Bettencourt said cities are some of the most interested complex systems of change, the likes of which have rarely been seen in nature.  

“Cities are really the places where people come together and change is generated,” Bettencourt said. “Cities are really these nexus, these inventions by which humans can amplify their capabilities and create a lot of changes.”

On this episode of Knowledge Applied, we talk with Bettencourt on how he’s combining science and policy and using data to capture “the magic of cities for the common good.”  

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