Twenty-First Century Cities: Background information when reading City

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City

A User's Guide to the Past, Present, and Future of Urban Life

by P.D. Smith

City by P.D. Smith
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  • Published:
    Jun 2012, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Whitmore Funk

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Twenty-First Century Cities

Print Review

In City, P.D. Smith observes that contemporary urban populations are steadily growing, and he predicts that by the middle of this century the majority of humankind will be living in urban areas that he terms "eco-cities." Some recent trends like urban homesteading, community gardens, and vertical farming provide a glimpse of what futuristic ecologically sustainable cities are like, and they are far from the polluted, smoggy worlds that are traditionally associated with cities.

computer generated images of vertical farms

While past generations have often perceived rural living to be an environmentally friendly practice, recent studies from economists like Edward Glaeser of Harvard University and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) like London's International Institute for Environment and Development suggest otherwise. Urban life, with high-density dwellings, public transportation, and short distribution routes for goods and services, is the least ecologically harmful way of living. Interestingly, recent studies in China have also found that city dwellers, on average, tend to be more concerned about their environmental impact compared to those who live in less urban areas.

You can get a sense of just how much your own neighborhood affects your impact on the planet by calculating your ecological footprint at www.myfootprint.org or www.footprintnetwork.org.

View of Hong Kong from Victoria's Peak

Image of Hong Kong by Diliff.

This article is from the June 28, 2012 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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