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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Build up not out, 21 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier (Hardcover)
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A thorough look at the importance of cities to business and innovation.

The author, an urban economist, argues that concentrated populations have helped transform and create some of the most innovative and creative places on earth and that contrary to what most people believe, it is more environmentally friendly that people live in cities as opposed to the countryside or the suburbs (e.g. driving the car to work or for shopping is hard on the environment). He provides examples of why certain cities are successful and why others have passed their sell-by date and also what could be done to regenerate those areas.

In order to succeed, cities need to attract the most important asset; human capital, and this requires they are diversified, can offer skills development (good schools etc.), affordable housing (build up instead of out as otherwise people will be priced out of the city centres) and have enough groove to attract the young professionals as well as the safety and orderliness to appeal to the more established and successful families. Cities are about people, not places or buildings.

A very interesting read and definitely some arguments that I can subscribe to and that I think should be required reading for urban planners worldwide. It does, however, focus a lot on the economic and productive value of the urban areas rather than what many people are attracted to in a city: the bustling street life and changing and international communities.
4 stars for contents 3 stars for readability.
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