Science Cities, located in urban areas, are critical drivers of economic growth due to their proximity to other scientific institutions and industry connections. Beijing, China’s capital city, leads the way in research output in the Nature Index with its collective score of 3,735 for natural-science journals tracked by the database. Other major urban centers such as New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, Paris, Seoul and London also feature in the top 20.
While clustering research institutions in cities provides numerous benefits such as access to a skilled pool of researchers and opportunities for collaboration with other scientific institutions and industries. However, there are concerns about how science can benefit populations living outside of urban areas. This issue has contributed to tensions between urban and rural populations in some countries. Despite these challenges, research can have a significant impact on rural communities by improving health outcomes and reducing poverty through projects such as rooftop solar panels that provide energy to Chinese villages or interventions that improve the health of rural immigrant and Indigenous populations in the United States. These examples demonstrate how science can positively impact people’s lives outside of cities and help to reduce any resentment that may have grown between urban and rural populations.
The financial support for this supplement was provided by the Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission and Administrative Commission of Zhongguancun Science Park. Nature maintains sole responsibility for all editorial content produced in this supplement.