Published: June 13, 2019

In the latest issue of the journal Antiquity, Social Reactors Project collaborators Jack Hanson, Scott Ortman, Luis Bettencourt and Liam Mazur present evidence that the street networks of Imperial Roman cities exhibit an even stronger economy of scale than is characteristic of contemporary urban street networks. The authors argue the difference between the two implies that streets in Roman cities were more congested, relative to their population sizes, than are contemporary cities, perhaps leading to temporal regulation of street use, as occurs in the old urban cores of many European cities today. The authors also report evidence that the scaling of public meeting spaces in Roman cities is consistent with their use as social mixing arenas for a variety of purposes. The paper is available here