Toward a Theory of Cities: Empirical Evidence of and a Proposed Explanation for Urban Scaling

Open Access
Wilburne, Dane R
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Edward Coulson, Thesis Supervisor
  • James R. Tybout, Honors Advisor
  • cities
  • urban
  • scaling
  • power law
  • economics
Are cities, in some sense, scaled versions of one another? Empirical evidence presented herein suggests an affirmative answer to this question. I propose an explanation for this phenomenon in terms of simple network theory. The basic premise is that cities consist of two types of networks: a social network and an infrastructural network. The fundamental differences in the structure of these networks can account for the divergent behavior of various magnitudes- so-called urban quantities- associated to cities.