The world’s first-known major gathering of disparate peoples took place twelve thousand years ago in a place called Göbekli Tepe. Hunter-gatherers, these peoples had not yet discovered agriculture and had not yet begun to settle in small towns.

We do not know exactly what brought people together at Göbekli Tepe. No doubt, in time, archaeologists will bring the reason to light. Right now, consensus says the gathering was for religious purposes. However, one thing is for certain —when people gather together in such big numbers, the first problems that must be solved are that of food and shelter. In the centuries following the gathering at Göbekli Tepe, large-scale cities emerged, first in Mesopotamia then in places like South America, India, etc.The establishment of cities requires the existence of a rural population to feed the large number of people living there. In the course of time, this is exactly what happened. However, large-scale cities, and the enormous numbers of people who live in them, is a phenomenon that is, perhaps, no more than two hundred years old.

So what happened to make people decide to live in cities? Well, it’s partly out of necessity. However, if we look at this question from the perspective of permaculture, we can begin to understand the importance of a city’s functions and networks. Mathematicians have conducted a lot of research on permaculture.

It is interesting to note that once there is a fivefold increase in a city’s population, there is a corresponding twenty-five-fold increase in creativity. How can this be possible? Cities exist because people and businesses function in order to serve other people and businesses. For example, the airport serves to fulfill the function of transport of people and goods. Its modes and methods form links. As the number of components entering the network increases, it is necessity to find new solutions. In other words, meeting people and creating additional products and functions triggers an increase in creativity. Ninety-six percent of every new product is believed to be designed in cities. Mobility and adaptation force the designer to live a better life. However, ultimately, all cities shrink, lose their populations, and return to the sands upon which they were built.

Since Göbekli Tepe, getting together, getting in and getting close, opens new doors to humanity. Technological advances means that doors are open in every country on the planet, and are opened at incredible speed. It is apparent that there is a big benefit in coming together.

Ethan Lee.