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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The New Urban Century

From the beginnings of civilization around 4000 B.C., man has lived a predominately rural life. Cities were the wellsprings of arts, culture, science, et. al., but the majority of people still lived in rural areas. Recently, or in the very near future, more people will live in urban areas that rural areas Although some demographers predicted that this event happened in 1994, the 21st century will be mankind's first urban century.

The mega cities of the 21st century in the developing world must seem as frightening and chaotic to the casual American observer as the burgeoning American cities of the 19th and early 20th centuries did to the European observer.

Regardless, the next century will be one unlike any others we have seen. There will be new challenges around the world, new issues, and new developments.

Too often Americans take a Amero-centric or Euro-centric view on urbanism. This overlooks some of the world's largest and all of the world's fastest growing megalopoli. The City Mayor's website takes a global perspective on running the world's cities and provides a wealth of information on best practices throughout the world. The future will be very different, hopefully information like this will make us better prepared.


5chw4r7z said...

What I find striking about all this is the internet was supposed to change everything (again). Since it enabled people to work anywhere, disconnected from a physical location people would logically scatter. What has happened? Rent in the center of the cities have climbed, people are moving back to cities and 51% of the people on earth live in cities now. So the internet really hasn't changed anything.(again)

WestEnder said...

Why is it logical that people would scatter?

Perhaps enough people want to live where they don't need two cars, a garage, auto insurance, a rush hour commute, etc. They may prefer to live where they don't have to drive to the grocery, work, park, etc. Maybe they prefer to be closer to other people and arts & cultural opportunities.

Maybe the internet has changed things. More people can live anywhere, and they choose to live in cities. That seems like a logical conclusion. Counterintuitive, perhaps (to me as well), but logical.

5chw4r7z said...

Others words not mine on what the internet means, I didn't make that very clear I know.
I guess the point I was trying to make, given the choice to live anywhere people are still social animals. And where can you be the most social?
In the city. At least thats the way its worked out for me.

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