Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis
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Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis

2.88 of 5 stars 2.88  ·  rating details  ·  26 ratings  ·  6 reviews
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 slim...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published July 16th 2013 by Bloomsbury Press (first published April 25th 2013)
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The book was a pretty meagre throughout. I have read much on cities but I was aware of the majority of sources and anecdotes in the book already, it felt like a compendium of people's other work rather than offering any insight itself (just a lot of praise for the internet or travelling).
A surprisingly hopeful book, in many ways. I imagine that's what the author intended, and I admit to being pleasantly surprised at how well he succeeded.

Some of the early material, mainly stuff on Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses, I was already familiar with (as I would expect most people interested in city life to be), and it seemed to be a bit of a potted history, as did some of the material on Le Corbusier. Famous Theorists and Power Brokers, Bad; Observant Lady: Good (to be clear, I agree with H...more
Brady Dale
From my review on NextCity Daily:

Leo Hollis’ new book, Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis, is not a book to “like,” exactly, but if you’re a regular reader of this space then it perhaps covers all the things you might like. I was with Hollis on his premise — that every way of life has its drawbacks but, despite these, cities are good for you, and are even better for all of us — before opening the front cover. That said, while reading I kept going back and forth about whether t...more
Given the rapid urbanization of the world, the question of the sustainable city is being lived out in every country. How do we maximize the good and minimize the difficulties of cities? Hollis draws on a lot of researchers and ideas about how to change and improve the city, understanding it as a wider network and for global sustainability. Hopeful, this is an introduction to the idea of the sustainable city.
The book meandered quite a bit, so I never quite go the sense of a coherent hypothesis. The name of the book is of course pushing towards one, but that isn't addressed in some grand argument in the book.

Lots of tidbits about the good things happening in various cities, but also the challenges. All of which cumulatively didn't add up to me to the kind of strong message presented in something like a Richard Florida or Ed Glaeser book.

The thoughts were all there, just the editing didn't push the en...more
This book was just so-so. Hollis enjoys sharing his thoughts and opinions perhaps too much, and his arguments tend to wind and meander much like the street configurations in the suburban housing developments he opposes. However, he does take on quite a bit (again, perhaps too much) and provides a decent survey of material that he is just unfortunate to have had covered by other authors who have more thoroughly outlined and supported their claims (e.g., Al Gore in The Future, Kasarda and Lindsay...more
Just an occasional drive through the drab and soulless suburbs depresses me. So, yes, cities are good for me. But I didn't need this much of arguing in favor of city life. This is a good book to read if you're an urban planner or a historian. I think I just wasn't the right audience for this book.
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