Age of the City: Why our Future will be Won or Lost Together (Hardcover)
Visionary Oxford professor Ian Goldin and The Economist's Tom Lee-Devlin show why the city is where the battles of inequality, social division, pandemics and climate change must be faced.
From centres of antiquity like Athens or Rome to modern metropolises like New York or Shanghai, cities throughout history have been the engines of human progress and the epicentres of our greatest achievements. Now, for the first time, more than half of humanity lives in cities, a share that continues to rise. In the developing world, cities are growing at a rate never seen before.
In this book, Professor Goldin and Tom Lee-Devlin show why making our societies fairer, more cohesive and sustainable must start with our cities. Globalization and technological change have concentrated wealth into a small number of booming metropolises, leaving many smaller cities and towns behind and feeding populist resentment. Yet even within seemingly thriving cities like London or San Francisco, the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to widen and our retreat into online worlds tears away at our social fabric. Meanwhile, pandemics and climate change pose existential threats to our increasingly urban world.
Professor Goldin and Tom Lee-Devlin combine the lessons of history with a deep understanding of the challenges confronting our world today to show why cities are at a crossroads – and hold our destinies in the balance.
About the Author
Ian Goldin is Professor of Development and Globalisation at the University of Oxford and former Vice President of the World Bank. Ian's recent publications include Rescue: From Global Crisis to a Better World (HC, 2021), Terra Incognita: 100 Maps to Survive the Next 100 Years (PRH, 2020), and Age of Discovery (Bloomsbury, 2016).
Tom Lee-Devlin is a writer at The Economist. He previously worked as a management consultant at Bain & Company and led research for the firm's global think tank, Bain Futures.
“Age of the City is the book we need now. Ian Goldin and Tom Lee-Devlin take aim at those who believe the age of our great cities is over. They marshal powerful and much needed evidence to show that cities are becoming even more important to our economy and society. Their book illuminates the ongoing ability of cities to preserve and thrive in the face of all manner of adversity, as platforms to harness and unleash the human creativity which stands as the engine of human progress. Their book is essential reading for political and business leaders and each and every one of us who cares about and wishes to help create a better collective future.” —Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class.
“Age of the City provides a startlingly fresh and compellingly readable account of the forces that have defined our past and will shape our future. An essential and enjoyable guide for all our lives.” —Saskia Sassen, Professor, Columbia University and author of The Global City
“A sweeping survey of the history and modern challenges facing cities that will persuade you that they are the key to a happier and more sustainable future together.” —Minouche Shafik, President and Vice-Chancellor, London School of Economics and Political Science
“A compelling, holistic and well-balanced narrative on the critical role of cities in an age of global warming – full of insights based on hard data. From cover to cover, a great read. Full of positive ideas for the future, and grounded in vital lessons from the past. The authors link together many disparate subjects into one integrated whole – bringing alive history, planning, infrastructure, pandemics, urbanism, deprivation, industrialisation, fertility, wars, governance and more – all in support of the city.
” —Lord Norman Foster
“Ian Goldin and Tom Lee-Devlin have written a compelling volume explaining why cities will survive and thrive despite the twin threats of remote work and pandemic. This book vividly explains how cities are engines of cooperation, which fundamentally enable us to become more human. Using a compelling combination of history and data, the authors remind us that life is better lived in urban streets and cafes than in Zoom waiting rooms. This is an important read for anyone who cares about cities.” —Professor Edward Glaeser, Department Chair, Harvard University