Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
Edward L. Glaeser
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A pioneering urban economist offers fascinating, even inspiring proof that the city is humanity's greatest invention and our best hope for the future.
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. Even the worst cities-Kinshasa, Kolkata, Lagos- confer surprising benefits on the people who flock to them, including better health and more jobs than the rural areas that surround them. Glaeser visits Bangalore and Silicon Valley, whose strangely similar histories prove how essential education is to urban success and how new technology actually encourages people to gather together physically. He discovers why Detroit is dying while other old industrial cities-Chicago, Boston, New York-thrive. He investigates why a new house costs 350 percent more in Los Angeles than in Houston, even though building costs are only 25 percent higher in L.A. He pinpoints the single factor that most influences urban growth-January temperatures-and explains how certain chilly cities manage to defy that link. He explains how West Coast environmentalists have harmed the environment, and how struggling cities from Youngstown to New Orleans can "shrink to greatness." And he exposes the dangerous anti-urban political bias that is harming both cities and the entire country.
Using intrepid reportage, keen analysis, and eloquent argument, Glaeser makes an impassioned case for the city's import and splendor. He reminds us forcefully why we should nurture our cities or suffer consequences that will hurt us all, no matter where we live.
to citizens as an energy dividend, much as the state of Alaska pays each of its citizens an annual dividend from oil revenues. Richer countries must also offer incentives for poorer countries to use less energy. We can lecture the Chinese about being more French in their energy usage, but our lectures will fall on deaf ears unless we put some of our own resources on the table. The political hurdles facing this type of transfer—you might call it “cash for no oil”—are enormous. I can already hear
not listed in the bibliography or citations, because any Wikipedia fact was verified with a more standard source. But I still have a great debt to the anonymous toilers of Wikipedia who made my research much easier at many points in time. I apologize if any phrases from that, or any other source, crept into my prose—one research assistant was assigned the explicit task of purging such inadvertent borrowing—but mistakes do sometimes get through. Finally, I would like to express my particular
Las Vegas: Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, July 21, 2010. 188 two thirds of the variation in metropolitan prices . . . by 3 percent: Author’s calculations using U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000, County and City Data Book 2000, table C-7, “Cities—Government Finances and Climate,” www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/00ccdb/cc00_tabC7.pdf. 188 For every $1.00 . . . by $1.20: Author’s calculations using U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000. 188 California’s Santa Clara County . . . pay plenty to live there:
2009, table 7, U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Residential Sector Energy Consumption, 1990-2008, www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/pdf/0573(2008).pdf. 209 Detroit and Grand Rapids . . . even at night: Glaeser and Kahn, “The Greenness of Cities.” 209 it should be no surprise that cities are greener than suburbs: Ibid. 210 But the differences between . . . its equivalent in Memphis: Ibid. 210 Older places ... higher emissions: Ibid. 210 about 2 people living on each acre in Santa Clara
Philip A. Mackowiak. “Hellenic Holocaust: A Historical Clinico-Pathologic Conference.” American Journal of Medicine 109, no. 5 (Oct. 1, 2000): 391-97. Durant, Will, and Ariel Durant. The Story of Civilization, vol. 4, The Age of Faith: A History of Medieval Civilization—Christian, Islamic, and Judaic—from Constantine to Dante, A.D. 325-1300. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1950. Duranton, Gilles, and Matthew Turner. “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from the U.S.” University of