Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis

Overview

Cities are where the twenty-first century is really going to happen. Already at the beginning of the century, we became 50% urban as a global population, and by 2050 we're going to be up to 70% urban. So cities could either be our coffin or our ark.

Leo Hollis presents evidence that cities can deliver a better life and a better world in the future. From exploring what slime mold can tell us about traffic flow, to looking at how traditional civic power structures are being ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$21.03
BN.com price
(Save 24%)$28.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (13) from $9.98   
  • New (10) from $15.88   
  • Used (3) from $9.98   
Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.49
BN.com price
(Save 42%)$19.99 List Price

Overview

Cities are where the twenty-first century is really going to happen. Already at the beginning of the century, we became 50% urban as a global population, and by 2050 we're going to be up to 70% urban. So cities could either be our coffin or our ark.

Leo Hollis presents evidence that cities can deliver a better life and a better world in the future. From exploring what slime mold can tell us about traffic flow, to looking at how traditional civic power structures are being overturned by Twitter, to investigating how cities all over the world are tackling climate change, population growth, poverty, shifting work patterns and the maintenance of the fragile trust of their citizens, Cities Are Good for You offers a new perspective on the city.

Combining anecdote, scientific studies, historical portraits, first-hand interviews and observations of some of the most exciting world cities, Hollis upends long-held assumptions with new questions: Where do cities come from? Can we build a city from scratch? Does living in the city make you happier or fitter? Is the metropolis of the future female? What is the relationship between cities and creativity? And are slums really all that bad?

Cities Are Good for You introduces us to dreamers, planners, revolutionaries, writers, scientists, architects, slum-dwellers and kings. Ranging globally and through time in search of answers—from the archive to the laboratory, from City Hall to the architect's desk—it is above all driven by the idea that cities are for people and by people.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Forget the title; London-based writer and historian Hollis (The Stones of London: A History in Twelve Buildings) doesn’t make a solid case for the superiority of cities over suburbs or countryside. But having spent time in places as varied as Manhattan, Bangalore, and Venice, and having researched his subject, he has much to say about urban dynamism. He is particularly engaging when writing about slums, such as in a detailed profile of Mumbai’s Dharavi district (including its insufficient water supply and lack of public toilets); as well as on technologically sophisticated bus systems in Curtiba, Brazil, and Bogota; and on the construction of new “eco-cities” like Masdar, Abu Dhabi, and Tianjin Eco, China. However, Hollis sometimes flits from topic to topic and devotes too little attention to such megacities as Jakarta and Lagos. He also tends toward abstraction, as when describing the August 2011 London riots (“the city turned in on itself with extraordinary violence”), and can flood the reader with meaningless statistics (the millions of square feet of planned residential and commercial space in Songdo, South Korea), all of which make parts of the book read like urban studies–lite. However, these shortcomings are balanced by passages that colorfully demonstrate, through anecdotes and data, how particular cities are “extraordinary economic engines of wealth and innovation.” 55 b/w illus. Agent: Patrick Walsh, Conville and Walsh. (Aug.)
Library Journal
London historian Hollis (The Stones of London: A History in Twelve Buildings) here proposes an argument for urbanism and the multifaceted goodness of cities. He observes historically dominant cities, including New York and London, and rapidly rising cities, including Bangalore and Shanghai. He considers urban planning, entrepreneurialism and creativity, the impact of technology (from the Otis elevator to the automobile to the mobile phone), transportation, environmental concerns, and—in the most compelling chapter, set largely in the massive Mumbai slum of Dharavi—the urban geography of poverty. He lauds innovative practices and projects, including the breathtakingly successful public transit system in Curitiba, Brazil, and Manhattan's High Line, which reclaimed a decrepit, abandoned rail line for use as a park. Near the end of his sprawling survey of the state of the world's cities, Hollis admits (with some conflict) to having recently moved to the suburbs. This is a small but perhaps telling detail, for despite its celebratory title, Hollis's book is more about how cities could be much better for us if only they were more sustainably developed, reversed the inequitable distribution of resources, and were treated by their residents as communities. VERDICT Of potential interest to both academic and amateur scholars of urban life.—Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus
Kirkus Reviews
We are city dwellers, to paraphrase the Whole Earth Catalog, and we might as well get used to it. Our appeal to the good old days usually looks to the countryside for inspiration. Yet, joining the literature of the new urbanism, British historian Hollis (Stones of London: A History in Twelve Buildings, 2011, etc.) argues that the city is a multifaceted, inexhaustible source of possibility for human achievement. Where others have argued for economic good (cities are engines of innovation and enrichment, à la Lewis Mumford) and cultural and social advancement (cities are where smart people congregate and create things, à la Richard Florida), Hollis opens with an intangible: "It is places like the High Line," he writes of the newly opened Manhattan park, "that allow us to think again about the city and how it can make us happy." Happy? Yes, happy, and Hollis does a solid job of showing how cities can buck many of the negative trends that so define the Western world in particular: Don't like the fact that the United States hasn't signed the Kyoto Protocol? No matter, Hollis suggests, because "It will be cities…rather than nations, which will be at the forefront of the climate-change challenge, driving initiatives, setting out practical policies and ensuring that they are followed through." Don't like the anonymity of the city dweller? Then, Hollis urges, redefine community and create a miniature village within the city where everyone knows everyone else. Hollis' tone is optimistic but grounded, which is a nice switch from the usual doomsaying of trends analysts. Though he sometimes ventures out onto the scaffolding without much visible support--for instance, for his suggestion that the world's future mega-regions "will not happen organically" (Why not? They did in the past)--he manages not to plummet to the sidewalk below. A good read, popular without being condescending, for students of the modern city and the metropolises of the future.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620402061
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 7/16/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 967,416
  • Product dimensions: 6.62 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Leo Hollis is a writer and historian. Born in London, he studied history of the University of East Anglia. He now works as an editor at Verso and is the critically acclaimed author of London Rising: The Men Who Made Modern London (published in the UK as The Phoenix: St Paul's Cathedral and the Men Who Made Modern London) and The Stones of London: A History in Twelve Buildings. He lives in West Hampstead, UK.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)