Recent research has identified a form of low-density urbanism, exemplified by settlement patterns in the Maya lowlands of Central America and the Angkor region of Cambodia, in which larger cities appear to be less dense overall than smaller ones. This distinctive type of settlement pattern provides an opportunity to deepen understanding of the fundamental social processes behind all forms of urbanism. In mid-August 2018 a group of researchers with expertise in LiDAR and settlement pattern analysis in the Maya Lowlands and Angkor met with the Social Reactors Project team for two days of discussion and exploration at the Santa Fe Institute. The group discussions raised the possibility that people in these societies took advantage of social networking at a multiple scales, and within smaller delineations of cities, than occurs in many other contexts. Participants left the meeting with many avenues to pursue in the effort to understand how low-density urbanism worked socially and energetically.
Scott Ortman (Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado-Boulder; External Faculty, SFI).
Michael Smith (School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University; ASU–Santa Fe Institute Center for Biosocial Complex Systems)
Luis Bettencourt (Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, University of Chicago; External Faculty, SFI)
Jack Hanson (Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado-Boulder)
José Lobo (School of Sustainability, Arizona State University; ASU–Santa Fe Institute Center for Biosocial Complex Systems)
Jeremy Sabloff (External Faculty, SFI)
Adrian Chase (School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University)
Julie Hoggarth (Department of Anthropology, Baylor University)
Bernadette Cap (Department of Anthropology, University of Texas-San Antonio)
Heather Richards-Rissetto (Department of Anthropology, University of Nebraska)
Sarah Klassen (Research Fellow, Dumbarton Oaks)
You can learn more about the meeting here.