It doesn’t take an urban planner to know that an overabundance of modern condos, glassy office buildings, chain stores, and highly successful residents of a certain skin tone does not a great city make. (And someone should tell that to the developers turning perfectly good city blocks into bastions of geometrically complex apartment buildings and Starbucks, but that’s another story.)

This story is about turning that intuition — that cities need density, diversity, and a bit of grunge to thrive — into indisputable truth. In a new (yet to be peer-reviewed) study on arXiv.org, researchers report that the completely plausible tenets of good city living laid out in the famous 1961 tome of urban planning, The Death and Life of the Great American City by Jane Jacobs, do have some credibility in today’s data-hungry world.

According to Jacobs, the four qualities that make a city great are: mixed land use (creating areas that serve more than one function and thus attract more than one type of person), small block sizes (they encourage pedestrian interaction), high density, and diverse architecture (different ages and forms of buildings accommodate tenets of varying economic statuses).