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Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis Hardcover – July 16, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

From Mumbai to Shanghai, Hollis is the perfect guide to the art, science and even maths of what makes cities so great Marcus du Sautoy Extremely timely ... There are, though, some fascinating and thoroughly researched passages. Hollis's eludication on the garden city movement is a beautifully crafted study of the purpose-built, self-sufficient towns that sprung up in the 20th century as a riposte to unchecked urban sprawl Financial Times In Cities Are Good for You Leo Hollis aims to set the record straight on the places where more than half the world's population now lives. He does so with gusto ... An intriguing book The Times Leo Hollis has written an eloquent, nuanced, and learned account of the ways in which cities can serve as conduits for happiness. His wide-ranging and acute observations of the interaction of the social and the formal map an optimistic and incisive vision of an emergent - and indispensable - urbanism predicated on sustainability, equity, imagination and trust Michael Sorkin There's a persuasive energy to this optimistic celebration Metro Combing a wealth of info on cities the world over with anecdote and experience, Hollis's fascinating book touts the theory that our path to salvation is the city itself - ultimately justifying our unwavering desire to skip the mud for the metropolitan Fabric Magazine A useful counterpoint to those who would argue that the big bad city is to be escaped at all costs Observer Leo Hollis's book makes a persuasive case for thinking more about how we plan cities The Times Offers a surprisingly positive perspective on urban living Traveller Beautifully written and absorbing book ... This is an inspiring, richly illustrated, and thoroughly enjoyable read Good Book Guide --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About 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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press (July 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1620402068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1620402061
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brown on February 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As a reader, the best chapters in the book involved discussions about India and China, perhaps in part due to my general lack of real knowledge of these parts of the economic world. I found them to be very interesting and engaging.

The rest of the book reads like a summary of the last 3 years publications on the subject. If this is your first book on the subject of urbanism and economies then you should enjoy it. Otherwise, I feel that it might come across as awkward and clunky in parts. Furthermore, there is no real analysis or new ideas being developed. Ultimately, the author fails to prove that cities really are good for us (even though I am a proponent and believer) and instead relies on the assumptions that others have already formulated. I am left wondering why the author even wrote the book despite the fact that I generally enjoyed it
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Gitchell on March 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I’ve never lived in an American city. Both my sons live in cities, and here I sit in the countryside… I remember my student sojourn in Cold War Berlin (inside the Wall) with special fondness. I know the arguments in favor of higher density living, but cities make me nervous. When I saw Cities are Good for You on the “New Arrivals” shelf at the Library, I grabbed it.

I approached (and enjoyed) this book as a “naïve reader”. I’m not an urban planner.

One of Hollis’s opening arguments pertains to “second tier” friends. He says city and country people have about the same number of “first tier” friends and relatives, the people with whom we work, play and live. But he asserts that city folks have more “second tier” friends – former colleagues, acquaintances, casual contacts, slightly known neighbors – and these people improve the quality of life. Evidently this can be documented in the job search arena.

Hollis moves on to discuss the city as a hive, and there, I think, violates logic. He references ant biologist E O Wilson in a discussion (over my head) of complexity theory. A few pages later, Hollis casually informs us that a beehive is a “democracy”. What?! The concept of “democracy” is so saturated with political and sociological assumptions that applying it to an insect (no bones, not much brain, etc.) is just wacko. It’s like hearing someone announce that they are going out to milk the cow, then seeing them walk off with a full set of welding tools. It’s not going to work…

So, who else turns up in Hollis’s book? He disliked Robert Moses, who so shaped (deformed?) New York City. I agree with him, but that’s based only on the Robert Caro biography of Moses.
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Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis
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