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Triumph of the City: How Urban Spaces Make Us Human by [Glaeser, Edward]
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Triumph of the City: How Urban Spaces Make Us Human Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Review

'Edward Glaeser is one of the world's most brilliant economists, and Triumph of the City is a masterpiece. Seamlessly combining economics and history, he explains why cities are "our species' greatest invention." This beautifully written book makes clear how cities have not only survived but thrived, even as modern technology has seemingly made one's physical location less important.' --Steven D. Levitt, coauthor of FREAKONOMICS

'A book that is at once polymathic and vibrant... bursting with insights... if separating ideas from implementation can leave you a little light-headed you'll walk away dazzled by the greatness of cities and fascinated by this writer's nimble mind'
--New York Times Book Review

'Mr Glaeser clearly believes that hell isn't other people; heaven's more like it, for all out faults He's right, and he says it well.' --The Economist

'A book that is at once polymathic and vibrant ... bursting with insights ... if separating ideas from implementation can leave you a little light-headed you'll walk away dazzled by the greatness of cities and fascinated by this writer's nimble mind.' --New York Times Book Review

'Glaeser's research is actually something of an academic love letter to the "magic" of urbanism; a paean now condensed into his first book, Triumph of the City, published in March. Tall, dense, chaotic urban centres, he says, are more innovative, vibrant and environmentally friendly than rural or suburban communities. Even slums are a side effect of urban success, and generally far better for their inhabitants than the squalid villages they left behind...An intimidatingly clever 43-year-old professor, Glaeser won a place at Harvard's prestigious economics faculty in his mid-twenties. His research has since attracted widespread academic admiration; George Akerlof, an economics Nobel winner, has described him as "a genius.' --Prospect magazine

'Our good friend Edward Glaeser is a Harvard Professor and one of the world's most eminent urban economists, yet he has managed to write a book that will be comprehensible to anyone, whether novice or academic. In Triumph Of The City Glaeser argues that the close proximity of people in cities spurs creativity and that city living is better for the environment - mankind's future lies amid the high-rises and skyscrapers of the world's metropolises. And there's even a page or so on Dubai.' --What's On magazine (Middle East)

'Fascinating ... a vigorous charting out of the counter-intuitive territory that will turn many people's idea of hell into an urban paradise ... his book gives Nimbys, urban planners, and out-of-town developers plenty to think about.' --Sunday Telegraph

'Glaeser's enthusiasm for cities is catching... and for a book bursting with statistics, Triumph of the City is never dull, aided by anecdotes and Glaeser's gentle, self-deprecating humour. With more than half the world's population living in cities, Glaser had provided timely reminders of the benefits of urbanisation. Next time you are squashed into the tube, his words may be a small comfort: "Cities enable the collaboration that make humanity shine most brightly".' --Evening Standard

'A life-enhancing celebration of high-density city living... Resistance, he argues, is futile and it's this very provocation that makes this hymn to the city sing' --Metro

'Harvard urban economist Glaeser examines how cities have not only survived but thrived despite the fact that modern technology has threatened to make them redundant.' --TNT

'Replete with lightly borne learning, this is a tremendous book, not least because, like me, you will find yourself constantly seeking reasons to disagree. Like the poor in the city, this is a sign of success. If you hate the city and get moist-eyed at the thought of the country, then, one way or another, Glaeser is the man you will have to take on.' --Bryan Appleyard, Literary Review

'Insofar as it has been studied at all, the emphasis has been on the problems of urbanisation, particularly in the emerging economies, rather than the opportunities. So, it is truly refreshing that Ed Glaeser, Professor of Economics at Harvard, should give us this celebration of the boom in cities... A thrilling ride.' --Independent on Sunday

'This book is thoroughly recommended to anyone interested in the light that economics can throw on urban life.' --London Society Journal

'Glaeser is a Harvard Professor of Economics, but writes brilliantly on complex subjects with an impressive clarity, deftness and lightness of touch...An important and compelling book' --Building Design magazine

`The book is a grand tour, both geographically (from Boston to Mumbai) and historically (from Constantinople to Cordoba), and it makes a compelling case that humans should head for high rises rather than the hills.'
--Financial Times

`Glaeser's grasp of the economic factors that drive urban life is formidable.'
--Civil Service World

`...a brilliant explanation of why cities are mankind's greatest invention. Glaeser optimistically argues that the world can live longer, happier, greener lives in cities rather than in villages - and I for one was convinced.' --Boris Johnson, Mail on Sunday

Book Description

A compellingly readable, critically acclaimed, agenda-setting account of how and why cities function as they do and why so many of us choose to live in them

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2802 KB
  • Print Length: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Unabridged edition (18 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004T1900M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #90,381 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Very disappointing if this is a book by a 'leading' economist. Evidence assembled to fit the preconceived prescriptions, with little acknowledgement that there is counter-evidence. Lots of neo-liberal economics and what passes for theory among free-marketeers. Little acknowledgement that anyone else does any work on urban issues. Arguments from history, but no engagement with serious historical or economic-history analysis. Braudel not even in the bibliography. Cheap shots at mayors who have tried to help the poor. No geography apart from the theory of relative advantage. No mention of successful German or Scandinavian cities - they might as well not exist.

The final chapter is slightly better (EG suddenly realises that urban planning might make a difference - that's what makes Vancouver a nice place, apparently) but it's mainly about investing in education and not trying to buck the market.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am not an economist nor a city planner. I am a former city dweller having lived in small cities and some of the larger better known such as Milan, Rome, Amsterdam and London. In addition, I have travelled to many of the cities mentioned in this book on business; Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, Bangalore, Sidney, Stockholm and Munich but to name a few and so I wanted to read something which I thought would give me some historical perspective of what makes these cities function and how the people within them act like a cog within the larger workings of a vast political, economic and human machine. I was not disappointed in its content. The author certainly knows his onions from his shallots but I was disappointed to find that he is a firm advocat of large cities and all that they can produce, seeming to believe that the economic viability and the richness and diversity of experiences of large, complex and overgrown cities is enough to make this world go around and even the best way forward is to build upwards and bigger and better.

There of course is a much deeper argument to the author's viewpoint and the sheer volume of facts and details were in themselves, very interesting.

This is a highly technical perspective on cities and perhaps not the more humanistic level I had been interested in. However, it is well written, well researched and certainly a must for environmental planners or even a good read for business analysts.
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By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this interesting book, Glaeser makes a strong economic, social and environmental case for cities. He shows how cities, by creating greater population density reduce carbon emissions from car use, through higher use of public or foot transport. He also shows how cities attract the poor who arrive in search of better lives and suggests that the the greatest cities do indeed afford that opportunity. City poverty, especially in the developing world is better than rural poverty, and there is greater chance for advancement.

Glaeser also makes clear the transformative effects of education in creating great cities, with Singapore, Boston and others given as strong examples of how good educational policies create a virtuous cycle; better educated populations create new ideas which drive forward economic growth, art and culture, which in turn attracts other well educated people, who continue the advance. The destructive effect of the best educated people leaving areas, putting this cycle into reverse, are exemplified in Detroit which has lost almost 60% of its population over the last 40 years and is now one of poorest cities in the USA.

This book is largely focused on the USA, but makes important points about Europe, China, and India too - where allowing greater concentration of building in city centres, particularly high rise building, is shown as the route to economic growth, whilst minimising environmental damage.

Whilst all of this is presented in an interesting, and easily read style, there are times when the messages can be a little repetitive - but it is an entertaining and informative read
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
One is tempted to say the sub-text to cover of this book should be `...And Why Greed Is Good' but that would be a bit churlish.

It's probably worth pointing out first that the writer is talking about the triumph of the city as a human construct, not `The City' in a financial context, although for the author the two are clearly inextricably linked.

Glaesner writes this book from a US, centre-right libertarian viewpoint and makes no bones about his trust in the free market to deliver the optimum urban form for us, although to be fair he is at times even handed and does point out where the public sector and more `left-liberal' policies have a place in city development.

Having said that his appreciation of public sector activity does tend to focus on what that public sector can do for private business [e.g. road infrastructure etc.] rather than the general population that have to live in our urban and suburban areas, and very quickly defaults to the laissez-faire argument: cities are at their most dynamic when the rule book is thrown away and unbridled wealth is allowed to explode, which essentially means inequalities in society are an acceptable urban phenomenon, as that wealth will inevitably `trickle down' to the rest of society. Basically in cities, Greed Is Good.

Now that this Trickle Down theory has now been widely discredited and shown to be a totally defunct idea- it never happened and never will, wealth if anything seeps upwards- makes Glaesner's approach, despite being written after the Crash of 2007-08, almost quaint and old-fashioned now as the 21st century begins to shape up in an entirely new way from the previous ones. His analysis is growth obsessed; as if [almost] anything goes in the name of growth.
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