Your Brain, On Cities

Will you be our next sustaining member?Donate

Your Brain, On Cities

A neuroscientist discusses how cities might be overstraining urbanites’ brains in an interesting New Hamshire public radio clip. Now that the majority of humans live in cities, will we just get dumber and more tired, or evolve and adjust?

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

Ever feel like the city is overwhelming your brain? You’re not alone, and possibly not without science to back up your symptoms. According to Jonah Lehrer and some new science reports, your brain uses up a lot of its basic resources just taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of city life. Imagine a computer trying to run 10 different programs, and you get an idea of how your brain is potentially overstimulated and slowed by city life. A brief walk in a park — especially a biodiverse park with lots of different plant species — can benefit a brain and restore brain circuits that are depleted by dense city life.

At the same time, we recognize that cities are the sources of creativity. The other side to this story is that some other scientific reports show how living in a dense city can boost innovative thinking (measured in number of patents, etc.). Andrew Blum, a contributor to Wired and to our live blog of the Penn IUR conference Design After the Age of Oil, chimes in with a defense of city life.

Let me stop describing the segment, and let you listen to it here.

Diana Lind is the former executive director and editor in chief of Next City.

Follow Diana

Tags: new york cityparks

×
Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×
×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 771 other sustainers such as:

  • Abigail at $60/Year
  • Katherine in Chicago, IL at $120/Year
  • Juan at $5/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    The 21 Best Solutions of 2021 special edition magazine

  • Donate $40 or $10/Month

    Brave New Home by Diana Lind