Posts Tagged ‘Cities’

The Sunday Review: Triumph of the City, by Ed Glaeser.

08/05/2011, 03:00:30 PM

by Anthony Painter

The royal family is bad for growth. It was nice of them to have a wedding to showcase London and the UK. It undid some of the bad that they may have done. It is not the institution of the monarchy that is the problem. It’s the personage. In fact, it’s one individual – Prince Charles.

It is the heir to throne’s misguided interventions in protecting sight-lines and the like that have contributed to London’s failure to sufficiently grow upwards to facilitate growth, argues Ed Glaeser in Triumph of the City. The worst thing an economy can do is make successful cities unaffordable and constrained. That is the impact of the types of argument that the Prince of Wales deploys. Instead, we should celebrate, promote, invest in, enjoy, and believe in the city. Glaeser loves cities; he sees them as fundamental to the future of civilisation. Their story has barely even begun.

Triumph of the City achieves something exceedingly radical. It not only develops a powerful case for the city per se, it asks us to challenge our entire notion of what a city is. In Glaeser’s world, the city is not the physical structures of the built environment, but rather the human networks that create culture, value, love, ideas and opportunity. In this, he echoes the social urbanist, Jane Jacobs, though sees her as ultimately too small-scale and conservative.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon