Small cities blog image

Small Cities Face Greater Impact From Automation

Cities are modern society’s hubs for economic productivity and innovation, and now accommodate over half of the world’s population. As job migration is the leading factor in urbanization, policymakers are increasingly concerned about the likely impact of artificial intelligence and automation on city employment. While researchers have investigated automation in national economies and individual employment, it remains unclear a priori how cities will respond to this threat. Answering this question has implications for everything from urban migration to investment, and from social welfare policy to educational initiatives.

Here, we undertake a comparative examination of cities using data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics giving the employment distribution of about 700 different occupations across each of 380 US metropolitan statistical areas and combined statistical areas in 2014. From the data we estimate the “risk of computerization” as an educated guess about which occupations will experience greater adjustment due to machine substitution of a large portion of their content, and correlate these occupations with city size. Our analysis indicates that small cities will experience greater adjustments in the face of automation, including worker displacement and job content substitutions. We demonstrate that large cities exhibit increased occupational and skill specialization due to increased abundance of managerial and technical professions. These occupations are not easily automatable, and, thus, reduce the potential impact of automation in large cities.


Frank MR, Sun L, Cebrian M, Youn H, Rahwan I. 2018 Small cities face greater impact from automation. J. R. Soc. Interface 15: 20170946.

Available online at

saturn rings

Scaling Behaviour in Mathematical Models of Aggregation

The rings of Saturn are among the most spectacular structures in our solar system, made up of innumerable fragments of ice and rock ranging in size from metres to millimetres. The stability of the rings is a matter of some debate among planetary scientists. Read more

Northern Hemisphere Blog Image

Sampling the Dynamical Properties of Northern Hemisphere Atmospheric Fields Over the Past 60 Years

Solar radiation and the earth’s rotation are the primary drivers of large-scale atmospheric motions, while turbulence adds a layer of complexity at small scales. This picture is further complicated by ocean–land interactions, vegetation, anthropocentric forcing, and the hydrological cycle. Read more

Faranda Weather Blog Image Sq

Summary of the Discussion on Large-Scale Atmospheric Extreme Weather Events in Stockholm

Extreme, high-impact weather events have serious social and economic consequences, and have garnered widespread scientific and media attention. Understanding their drivers and improving their prediction is therefore a topic of crucial societal and economic value, where the interests of academia, policy makers and private stakeholders converge. Read more

Expected Shortfall

Empirical limits in the estimation of financial risk measures

Following the financial crisis of 2007-2008, governments and financial regulators all over the globe pledged to reduce risk in the financial system. Many have raised capital requirements on banks, while others have tried to force financial institutions to be less opaque in communications with their clients. Read more

RainerKlages Blog Biological Cell Migration

A Novel Model to Simulate Biological Cell Migration

In recent years evidence has accumulated that single biological cells often move in a way that is unlike Brownian motion, a paradigmatic model of random dynamics. Instead, cells migrate faster and exhibit so-called superdiffusion. This article reports on a new method to efficiently simulate superdiffusively moving cells. Read more

LML Fellows

LML External Fellows 2017/18

We are pleased to announce the LML External Fellows of 2017/18: Mark Buchanan, Fabio Caccioli, Colm Connaughton, Isaac Pérez Castillo, Davide Faranda, Michelle Girvan, Rosemary Harris, Rainer Klages, Imre Kondor, Jeroen Lamb, Fernando Metz, Claire Postlethwaite, Yuzuru Sato, Erica Thompson, Max Werner, Hyejin Youn and Jiancang Zhuang. Read more

Hyejin Blog Post 20180124

Comparison of shortest and fastest routes through cities reveals a structural typology of city development

Much is known about the geometry of road networks within cities, and how these vary with city size and level of economic development. Less is known about how these structures influence the flows of people and activity within cities, and how that activity in turn feeds back to shape road network geometry. Read more

Rafael Diaz Isaac Perez

Rafael Diaz Awarded Best MSc Thesis at UNAM

Rafael Díaz Hernández Rojas, a MSc student of our LML External Fellow Isaac Pérez Castillo, has been awarded the medal Juan Manuel Lozano Mejía 2017 for the best MSc thesis at the Institute of Physics at UNAM. Read more


LML External Fellow Awarded Prestigious Prize for Young Research Scientists

One of our LML External Fellows, Isaac Pérez Castillo from the Institute of Physics at UNAM Mexico, has been awarded the “Catédra Marcos Moshinsky 2017” in the area of Physical Sciences. Read more