Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Triumph of the City - TLC Book Tour

Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser

Publisher: The Penguin Press
Publication date: February 10, 2011
Hardcover: 338 pages
ISBN: 9781594202773
Price: $29.95

I love exploring cities and taking advantage of everything they offer-- jobs, museums, concerts, sporting events, theaters, and restaurants. But I'm not a city dweller. After spending a summer living above a piano bar in Manhattan, I realized it just isn't for me. However, reading this book turned a lot of my previously held views about cities on their ear.

Edward Glaeser is a Harvard economist who also writes for the New York Times blog The Economix. In this book, he extols the virtues of cities. For example, New Yorkers live longer than the average American, urban dwellers use way less energy than suburbanites, the poor generally have better opportunities for change, and workers have greater collaboration and productivity when they are face-to-face.

I was very interested in learning how many of our staple political policies are anti-urban, which has encouraged sprawl in places like Phoenix and Houston. I was also shocked by how "environmentalists" can actually do more harm than good, particularly in California where it seems extreme "not in my backyard" mentality is at work.

While I agree with many of Glaeser's points, I'm not sure that some of his solutions are viable, given our deep-rooted cultural beliefs, current political conditions and financial climate. But I know that from now on when I hear about the problems in our inner-city schools or read a blog discussing the merits of another light rail line in Charlotte, I'll feel a lot more confident sharing my opinion because of what I have read in this book.

Other tour stops:

February 2nd: Proud Book Nerd
February 3rd: I’m Booking It
February 8th: English Major’s Junk Food
February 14th: Books Are Like Candy Corn
February 15th: My Own Little Corner of the World
February 16th: Po(sey) Sessions
February 17th: Books Like Breathing
February 21st: Take Me Away
February 22nd: Book Club Classics!
February 24th: Reviews from the Heart
February 24th: Rhapsody In Books
March 1st: Booksie’s Blog
Source: I received this book from the publisher as part of the TLC Book Tour.


bermudaonion said...

I knew there's a reason I'm a city girl at heart! It's nice to know that there's some value in urban dwelling.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I love that this book made you think about cities in a new way even if you don't agree with all the author's theories/solutions.

Thanks so much for being on the tour!