Why Cities Are Good For You?

A nice interview of Leo Hollis. He is a historian, writer and urbanist based in London.

His thoughts are much like Ed Glaesar. He says cities are important as they are places where people ideate:

Why should we be thinking about cities enough to read books about them?

We’re at a moment of change right now. Cities are where the 21st century is really going to happen. Already at the beginning of the century, according to a 2007 UN survey we became 50% urban as a global population. This is only going to grow – by 2050 we are going to be up to 70% urban. So cities could either be our coffin or they could be our ark. It’s my passionate belief as an urbanist that cities can deliver a better life and a better world in the future. But there are lots of problems to overcome, and lots of ideas that we need to reformulate.

Your new book in progress is titled Why Cities Are Good For You. In a sentence, why are they?

It might sound counterintuitive, but living in a city will make you richer, smarter, fitter, greener and more creative. We have to make sure that cities don’t just become vast swathes of anonymity – that as cities grow we can develop communities and a society that is stronger than the one that we have at the moment. We live in cities, but in our minds we live in Victorian cities.

What do you mean? How have cities changed since Victorian times?

We still live, I feel, in a Dickensian mindset. The 20th century has been all about big, top-down urban projects – vast governmental attempts at social housing and so on. These have all been done with the best of intentions, but where I think the 20th century has gone wrong is that they see problems of the city as problems of fabric and infrastructure – of buildings, roads, supplies and goods. What they have forgotten – and this is an essential point for the city of the future – is that cities are for people and by people. A number of urbanists are rethinking the city by putting the people first. That seems like a small thing but actually it’s huge, and a good first point to change things, by putting people first rather than thinking of cities as just bricks and mortar. That’s what all of the books I’ve chosen do.

Interesting throughout.

Readers might be saying I just keep pointing interviews from browser.com…Well the site is so good with such great interviews that I can’t help covering..

One Response to “Why Cities Are Good For You?”

  1. faxauthority Says:

    Good information!

    Although I would be tempted to agree with the part about cities, I’m not sure when you start to include suburbs – will small mini “centers” start to evolve in city suburbs, or will regional towns start to move towards their own “city” feel?

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