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Welcome to the Urban Revolution: How Cities Are Changing the World 1st Paperback Edition Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-1608190928
ISBN-10: 1608190927
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*Starred Review* With more than half the world now living in cities, internationally recognized urbanologist Brugmann argues that we need to take note of that fact and its social, economic, and ecological implications to develop an “urban strategy.” This goes way beyond globalization. The urbanization of nations demands a reexamination of how resources are used for good or ill. Drawing on two decades of field research, Brugmann profiles several cities for best lessons on the peculiarly urban advantages of density, scale, association, and extension. Among the cities he examines: Bangalore, India, a “world-changing” city with high-tech industry and fiber-optic infrastructure; the Dharavi sector of Mumbai, a dense city built on a marsh by poor migrants, that despite its vibrancy is threatened with “slum clearance” by developers; Detroit, faltering into an urban prairie state after generations of racialized neglect; and Chicago, an example of a strategic city making use of its resources, including community groups, with smart planning for the future. Brugmann argues that the spread of threats from SARS to subprime mortgages could have been contained with better understanding of the urban conditions that created the problems. If we want a sustainable future, cities—and nations—need to use the natural advantages of urban areas with an eye toward how citizens (corporate and individual) actually use and misuse those advantages. Totally fascinating. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Brugmann provides compelling evidence of an often invisible connection between globalization and urbanization. In the process he shines a new light on large cities and urban slums. He shows that slums are dynamic and well functioning economic hubs. Drawing on an exhaustive supply of first hand knowledge, he is about to change the conversation about globalization, economic development, city planning and poverty. If you are interested in challenges of the 21st century, this book is for you. (C.K. Prahalad, Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor, Ross School of Business, the University of Michigan, author of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits)

Writing from his long on-the-ground global experience, Jeb Brugmann has provided a rich and accessible menu of deep insights, engaging stories, and surprising facts about a world of cities. His Welcome to the Urban Revolution is a prophecy of hope and political challenge to us all. (Michael Cohen, Director of International Affairs Program, The New School, former Senior Advisor for Environmentally Sustainable Development at the World Bank)

Jeb Brugmann is a strategist of great analytical power… His book is the work of a person who with great acuity captures important moments in cities around the globe. It is a fundamental reference for all those who wish to understand how cities can change the world. (Jaime Lerner, architect and urban planner, former mayor of Curitiba and governor of Paraná state, Brazil; president of International Union of Architects, 2002-2005)

Replete with detail and compelling analyses (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; 1st Paperback Edition edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608190927
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608190928
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeb Brugmann, Founding Partner of The Next Practice, is a strategist and innovation expert in business and urban development. With professional experience in 28 countries, he has been a pioneer in new practice domains including urban sustainability and climate change mitigation, 'base of the pyramid' (BOP) business development, and social enterprise. In 1990, he founded ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, an international association of 1,200 cities and towns worldwide advancing practices in local sustainable development. In 2004, he co-founded The Next Practice innovation consultancy with Prof. C.K. Prahalad. He is a speaker to business, government, civic, and academic audiences worldwide.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tom Beakbane on May 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Jeb was part of a discussion panel along with Richard Florida, Roger Martin and David Miller (The Mayor of Toronto). I was impressed by his experience and clarity - even when compared against these other high calibre communicators.

Jeb's book is new territory for me. I have not read any others on city planning and urbanism and regard myself as a granola-crunching anti-urbanite. Yet it made me realize just how urban I am - along with over half the population of the world. Whenever I travel I gravitate to the cities; when in Argentina I don't go to the Iguazu Falls but stay in Buenos Aires, when in Cuba I get bored at the beach but appreciate Havana. That is because cities are concentrations of human interest and they are stimulating.

This book is a celebration of urbanism and it reads like the cities it describes; rich in anecdote, busy, enthusiastic, provocative and multi-faceted.

Who should read it? City planners, architects, politicians, business people, educators... and anyone who loves (or hates) cities and wants to learn about the biggest mass migration of humanity in history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Snyder on July 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
Jeb Brugmann has researched the growth, and sometimes decline, of cities throughout the world, from him native Toronto through Chicago and Detroit, then on to Curitiba, Brazil and a squatter city adjacent to Mumbai, India.

He is a "fan," to use an imprecise word, of the future of cities. He touts a plan-based urbanism, but one that reflects native strengths of individual cities and metropolitan areas, contrary to a New Urbanism that may be formulaic at times.

He acknowledges the need to address energy use and other issues of urban areas, while adding that the world is going to continue to urbanize, planning or no.

The one disagreement I had with him was his claim that urbanization will lead naturally to democracy. The verdict is still out on China, to be sure. It's iffy on other countries that may move in the direction of oligarchy. As for the past, whether or not urbanism contributed to the fall of the Iron Curtain, Hitlerite Germany was an already-urbanized nation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Frewen on September 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As an architect, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeb Brugmann this spring at a ULI meeting in Kansas City and then read his brilliant book.

His theory: the best cities emerge from a way of life more than a system of speculative land development, that is, from "strong traditions of urbanism". In good examples, a city or community has a unique sense of who it is, its problems, and the best solutions. They tinker with development as an outgrowth of community, the "chaotic complexities," rather than impose master plans for the sake of development.

In particular, his typology of cities appealed to me: Crisis Cities (which have competing purposes), Great Opportunity Cities (incoherent growth), and the best ones -Strategic Cities. By working at conceptual and particular levels simultaneously, he effectively contrasts planned cities versus ad hoc cities.

In many ways, this approach parallels a triple bottom line method that considers social, economic, and environmental purposes. Brugmann bounces around the globe from Mumbai to Chicago and sees systematic answers, or as he calls them, citysystems or ecosystems.

here's an interview with Brugmann that summarizes many of the ideas in the book. [...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Terrell on March 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jeb Brugmann does an excellent job introducing the paradox of urbanization (concentration of population in cities) and globalization (expansion of civilization around the world) working together. Brugmann has ample experience through many years of studying urbanization around the world so his examples are more than anecdotic they are based on a deep analysis of data. This is an excellent treaty for use as text in any Urban Studies program.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lacy Fehrenbach-Marosfalvy on March 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think Jeb Brugmann has some interesting ideas that are very important to the future vitality of our way of life. His ideas and observations about what does and doesn't work in cities and neighborhoods around the world should be required reading for anyone in the urban planning/public policy field. This is a great book on the city based view of globalization. It is also well written and a pleasure to read.
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