All roads lead to big cities: Computational model explains human settlement networks

The phrase “All roads lead to Rome” captures in five words how important roads are for important cities. Yet, when we think of what made some towns last and grow and others shrink and be forgotten, we often think first of cultural and political events, the climate, land productivity and geography. As a consequence, most current scientific models of how cities develop treat roads as by-products or exogenous factors and they need a large amount of socio-economic data to be able to reproduce the cities’ arrangement.

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