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February 4, 2011 / Omar J. Peters

Cities: Mankind’s Greatest Invention

A new book about cities is soon to hit the shelves. “Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier“. In it the author, Edward Glaeser, argues that America needs to love cities more and explores how cities work – failures and successes:

America is an urban nation. More than two thirds of us live on the 3 percent of land that contains our cities. Yet cities get a bad rap: they’re dirty, poor, unhealthy, crime ridden, expensive, environmentally unfriendly… Or are they?

As Edward Glaeser proves in this myth-shattering book, cities are actually the healthiest, greenest, and richest (in cultural and economic terms) places to live. New Yorkers, for instance, live longer than other Americans; heart disease and cancer rates are lower in Gotham than in the nation as a whole. More than half of America’s income is earned in twenty-two metropolitan areas. And city dwellers use, on average, 40 percent less energy than suburbanites.

Glaeser travels through history and around the globe to reveal the hidden workings of cities and how they bring out the best in humankind.

Possibly a good read in these contemporary times when it appears society is getting more anti-urbanism, but the punch line in all of this: the author lives in the suburbs.

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