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The Evolution of Great World Cities: Urban Wealth and Economic Growth Paperback – August 9, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

’Drawing on an extensive body of literature and examples from prosperous and not-so-prosperous cities around the world this book attampts to explain the evolution of great world cities....Vast mass of literature is coupled with illustrative cases in a way that makes the book informative and an enjoyable reading experience.’ (Kristina Vaarst Anderson Regional Studies, vol46:07:2012)

‘Kennedy has written a lively and thoughtful book… he carefully builds a novel argument about wealth creation and urban form and does so in an accessible way that teaches urban history and economic concepts as it goes.’ (Clinton J. Andrews Journal of Industrial Ecology, 26 October 2012)

Review

'Trust me, I read a lot of books on cities. This one is different. The Evolution of Great World Cities is one of the most truly original takes on cities and their economic development that I've read in quite a while.' (From the foreword by Richard Florida)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division; 1st edition (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442611529
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442611528
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,805,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm an interdisciplinary researcher with a fascination for cities. As a professor in Toronto, I teach infrastructure economics, ecology and design for sustainable cities. I also advise several international agencies on urban issues.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fiona on January 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book which maximises the power of analogy and example to aid clarity. Each chapter focuses on well researched case studies that give credence and added interest to Christopher Kennedy's arguments and explanations. Yet as a whole the book is so much more than just a few case studies. Impressively written, it also works as a sequential narrative, building towards a highly thought-provoking climax. The reader is taken on a journey through the history of urban economics right up to today's cutting edge thinking about the fundamental nature of the evolution of complex systems. As is so often the case, the most inspired thinking is multidisciplinary and `The Evolution of Great World Cities' is no exception. I was left struck (as I was after reading `The Extended Phenotype') by the versatility of the scientific theories and models that we have at our disposal today, and couldn't help wondering what other undiscovered applications they may have.
This book would be a valuable addition to the library not only of those specifically involved in urban history or regeneration but of anyone interested in the origins and future of this fascinating world of urban jungles that most of us inhabit today. There is enough referencing for the serious student to delve deeper and easily enough analogy and historical anecdote to hold the interest of the `thinking layman'. I have tried one or two books of the `Introduction to Economics' genre and was pleasantly surprised to find this far superior to most ... and when I was least expecting it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tekjenki on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This books provides a great overview of why some great world cities succeed, while others have floundered in history. It provides a good mix of historical and current case studies, looks at the work of other great urban thinkers (Jacobs, Florida, etc.), and gives a unique historical perspective. I strongly recommend it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By WingHang Wong on October 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There was a lot of information in this short book. It is interesting but there were times when I don't really know what the point the author was trying to make.
I did like how he sites several different reasons as the reason for growth of cities. This is different from many non-fiction that tries to proof one point, at the expense of disregarding anything that doesn't fit its narrative.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book was informative, but it did not serve its purpose as well as it could have. This book is more history than economics, and focuses too much on the "what" and "how" than the "why". The author was detailed, but at many times it was too much. For example, Chapter 6 attempts to compare an urban economy to an ecosystem, but the 15 or so pages used to make this comparison were completely unnecessary. Great authors and teachers of economics are concise, and an overly detailed explanation on what an ecosystem is, filled with biological and scientific jargon in an attempt to make the point that an economy is organic and evolving, makes the book much less effective. Thomas Sowell or Milton Friedman could have gotten the same point across to the reader in a couple of paragraphs, and there were many instances in the book where I felt the same way.

While it was informative, at the end of the day you have to question whether the material being presented is truly necessary to support the author's thesis, and at many times I felt the answer was no. I would not recommend this to a friend because parts of the book were sort of a waste of time, although I would definitely share some of the points and ideas made by the author.
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The Evolution of Great World Cities: Urban Wealth and Economic Growth
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