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February 2, 2011 / Omar J. Peters

Cities are Revolutionary

Yesterday, the NYTimes blog posted a story recognizing that revolutions and uprisings are really only possible in cities.

Cities are places of revolution, because urban proximity connects organizers of opposition. Large urban populations create the scale needed to initially overwhelm local law enforcement. The physical barriers that occur in cities make it difficult for troops to maneuver and disperse demonstrators.

And the economic importance of cities means that citywide demonstrations can disrupt the economic heart of a nation. Cities also create the social exchanges between soldiers and citizens, such as the food-sharing between protesters and the military, that can be so fatal for military discipline.

Isolated farms are stable; cities are not. The constant interaction of human energy in dense clusters creates innovations in every area of human life, including politics

In sum, cities encourage sharing, collaboration among dwellers – empowering them.


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