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Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier by Edward L. Glaeser
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“Cities don't make people poor; they attract poor people. The flow of less advantaged people into cities from Rio to Rotterdam demonstrates urban strength, not weakness.”
Edward Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier
“A wealth of research confirms the importance of face-to-face contact. One experiment performed by two researchers at the University of Michigan challenged groups of six students to play a game in which everyone could earn money by cooperating. One set of groups met for ten minutes face-to-face to discuss strategy before playing. Another set of groups had thirty minutes for electronic interaction. The groups that met in person cooperated well and earned more money. The groups that had only connected electronically fell apart, as members put their personal gains ahead of the group’s needs. This finding resonates well with many other experiments, which have shown that face-to-face contact leads to more trust, generosity, and cooperation than any other sort of interaction.
The very first experiment in social psychology was conducted by a University of Indiana psychologist who was also an avid bicyclist. He noted that “racing men” believe that “the value of a pace,” or competitor, shaves twenty to thirty seconds off the time of a mile. To rigorously test the value of human proximity, he got forty children to compete at spinning fishing reels to pull a cable. In all cases, the kids were supposed to go as fast as they could, but most of them, especially the slower ones, were much quicker when they were paired with another child. Modern statistical evidence finds that young professionals today work longer hours if they live in a metropolitan area with plenty of competitors in their own occupational niche.
Supermarket checkouts provide a particularly striking example of the power of proximity. As anyone who has been to a grocery store knows, checkout clerks differ wildly in their speed and competence. In one major chain, clerks with differing abilities are more or less randomly shuffled across shifts, which enabled two economists to look at the impact of productive peers. It turns out that the productivity of average clerks rises substantially when there is a star clerk working on their shift, and those same average clerks get worse when their shift is filled with below-average clerks.
Statistical evidence also suggests that electronic interactions and face-to-face interactions support one another; in the language of economics, they’re complements rather than substitutes. Telephone calls are disproportionately made among people who are geographically close, presumably because face-to-face relationships increase the demand for talking over the phone. And when countries become more urban, they engage in more electronic communications.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier
“It’s hard not to empathize with the mayor’s anger, given the injustices he’d suffered, but righteous anger rarely leads to wise policy.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier
“Some places will, however, be left behind. Not every city will succeed, because not every city has been adept at adapting to the age of information, in which ideas are the ultimate creator of wealth.”
Edward Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier
“reinvention. Cities thrive when they have many small firms and skilled citizens. Detroit was once a buzzing beehive of small-scale interconnected inventors—Henry Ford was just one among many gifted entrepreneurs. But the extravagant success of Ford’s big idea destroyed that older, more innovative city. Detroit’s twentieth-century growth brought hundreds of thousands of less-well-educated workers to vast factories, which became fortresses apart from the city and the world. While industrial diversity, entrepreneurship, and education lead to innovation, the Detroit model led to urban decline. The age of the industrial city is over, at least in the West. Too many officials in troubled cities”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“In 2009, for the first time in history, more than half the world’s population lived in cities. In a time when family, friends and co-workers are a call, text, or email away, 3.3 billion people on this planet still choose to crowd together in skyscrapers, high-rises, subways and buses. Not too long ago, it looked like our cities were dying, but in fact they boldly threw themselves into the information age, adapting and evolving to become the gateways to a globalised and interconnected world. Now more than ever, the well-being of human society depends upon our knowledge of how the city lives and breathes.”
Edward Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier
“The tendency to think that a city can build itself out of decline is an example of the edifice error, the tendency to think that abundant new building leads to urban success. Successful cities typically do build, because economic vitality makes people willing to pay for space and builders are happy to accommodate. But building is the result, not the cause, of success. Overbuilding a declining city that already has more structures than it needs is nothing but folly.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“The failures of urban renewal reflect a failure at all levels of government to realize that people, not structures, really determine a city’s success.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“Cities don’t make people poor; they attract poor people.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“Shiny new real estate may dress up a declining city, but it doesn’t solve its underlying problems. The hallmark of declining cities is that they have too much housing and infrastructure relative to the strength of their economies. With all that supply of structure and so little demand, it makes no sense to use public money to build more supply. The folly of building-centric urban renewal reminds us that cities aren’t structures; cities are people.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“Historically, most people were far too poor to let their tastes in entertainment guide where they chose to live, and cities were hardly pleasure zones. Yet as people have become richer, they have increasingly chosen cities based on lifestyle—and the consumer city was born.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“twentieth-century urban America didn’t belong to the skyscraper; it belonged to the car.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“Department of Energy data confirms that New York State’s per capita energy consumption is next to last in the country, which largely reflects public transit use in New York City.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“Infrastructure eventually becomes obsolete, but education perpetuates itself as one smart generation teaches the next. In the United States and Europe, industrialization rarely encouraged education.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“Americans who live in metropolitan areas with more than a million residents are, on average, more than 50 percent more productive than Americans who live in smaller metropolitan areas. These relationships are the same even when we take into account the education, experience, and industry of workers. They’re even the same if we take individual workers’ IQs into account. The income gap between urban and rural areas is just as large in other rich countries, and even”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“whether in London’s ornate arcades or Rio’s fractious favelas, whether in the high-rises of Hong Kong or the dusty workspaces of Dharavi, our culture, our prosperity, and our freedom are all ultimately gifts of people living, working, and thinking together—the ultimate triumph of the city.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“Thomas Jefferson wrote that “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
“Between 1950 and 2008, Detroit lost over a million people—58 percent of its population. Today one third of its citizens live in poverty. Detroit’s median family income is $33,000, about half the U.S. average. In 2009, the city’s unemployment rate was 25 percent, which was 9 percentage points more than any other large city and more than 2.5 times the national average. In”
Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier