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Editorial: The Physics of Cities

The word “physics” can be understood in at least two ways. First, based on the Greek origin of the word, physics means nature.

Accordingly, when we state our intention to understand the physics of a phenomenon, we want to know how and why it behaves as it does. In other words, understanding the nature of something—be it a natural phenomenon or a concept—means that we comprehend the mechanisms governing the underlying system.

The second meaning of the word “physics” is related to the field of study or knowledge area; that is, to all theoretical and experimental tools developed by physicists to understand our universe.

These two meanings of the word “physics”, to some extent, appropriately describe a research area that has been highly active in recent years and is aimed at understanding the nature of cities through theoretical tools from physics.

Many believe these studies mark the birth of a new discipline—a “new science of cities”—that aims to understand cities from the complexity science perspective. […]

F.L. Ribeiro, M. Perc, H. V. Ribeiro, Editorial: The Physics of Cities, Frontiers in Physics 10 (2022) 964701.

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