EDWARD GLAESER TRIUMPH OF THE CITY PDF

See how this article appeared when it was originally published on NYTimes. Edward Glaeser, a Harvard professor of economics, has spent several decades investigating the role cities play in fostering human achievement. Glaeser takes us on a world tour of urban economics, collecting passport stamps in Athens, London, Tokyo, Bangalore, Kinshasa, Houston, Boston, Singapore and Vancouver. Along the way, he explains how urban density contributed to the birth of restaurants, why supermarket check-out clerks demonstrate the competitive advantage such density confers and how the birth of Def Jam Records illustrates the way cities spur artistic innovation.

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See how this article appeared when it was originally published on NYTimes. Edward Glaeser, a Harvard professor of economics, has spent several decades investigating the role cities play in fostering human achievement. Glaeser takes us on a world tour of urban economics, collecting passport stamps in Athens, London, Tokyo, Bangalore, Kinshasa, Houston, Boston, Singapore and Vancouver. Along the way, he explains how urban density contributed to the birth of restaurants, why supermarket check-out clerks demonstrate the competitive advantage such density confers and how the birth of Def Jam Records illustrates the way cities spur artistic innovation.

Here, his enthusiasm for cities is refreshing. And he chastises city planners in Paris and Mumbai, making a passionate argument for building up — and up and up.

Image London, Dec. Greater density is the goal: more people means more possibility. Even when writing about the developing world, Glaeser is unfazed by threats of overwhelmed sanitation systems, unsafe housing or impossible congestion. These, he suggests, are problems more readily solved than the environmental consequences of sprawling suburban life. Reminding us that even Thoreau benefited from association with a circle of urban intellectuals, he insists that suburbanization is producing an ecological disaster.

What will happen, he asks, if China and India emulate us? Paradoxically, fighting for local green space in the Bay Area undermines our ability to be global environmental activists. Some of those ideas may strike you as problematic: the increasing density he credits Atlanta with has been accompanied by an explosion of suburban sprawl.

Others, like tilting the benefits of the tax system away from suburbanites and toward city residents, may sound absolutely unrealizable. No matter though.

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EDWARD GLAESER TRIUMPH OF THE CITY PDF

The first part of the book is dedicated to enumerating the many economic advantages that urban areas provide over non-urban areas, especially in their role as innovation incubators. One great insight he throws right at the beginning is that cities themselves are actually an invention - the concept of collecting buildings close together to facilitate trade and idea-sharing was something akin to the concept of running electrical pulses across wires or building irrigation channels for crops - and that this insight, that people do their best work when surrounded by other people, has helped spur countless other inventions since. Even the most hardened suburbanite would be forced to reconsider their SUV and backyard patio after just that first section. Cities may have profound influences on economic activity but they are not exempt from the laws of economics themselves, and if housing supplies are limited by historical preservation boards, rent control laws, mandatory parking lot statutes, and poor zoning regulations, then the cost of living will increase and people will move to areas where there are fewer artificial constraints on growth.

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There is lots more in this wonderful book, which overall makes me much more optimistic about the ability of our increasingly urbanized world to change and adapt. Triumph of the City Manhattan Institute For best viewing experience, please consider upgrading to the latest version. This controversial factoid has kicked around for a while. Inspired by Your Browsing History.

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