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May 8, 2013 / Leo Hollis

recent reviews for CITIES ARE GOOD FOR YOU

Here are the nice things they said:

‘A comprehensive overview of the state of the city and contemporary thinking about urbanism . . . Hollis travels through time, giving a highly partisan and select history of urban theory and town planning; and through space, hopping from the US to Bangalore and Mumbai, to Shanghai, to Songdo in South Korea, Santiago in Chile and Bogota in Colombia, then back home to his own Metroland on the outskirts of London . . .

Hollis is informative about public transport in South America and the economics of Mumbai’s infamous Dharavi — a slum that, once penetrated, is exposed as not just a colorful backdrop for fictional slumdog millionaires, but a complex and curiously efficient human anthill. He also covers Chinese urbanization well, carefully describing the punitive Hukou system of residential registration that allows for the ever-accelerating migration from rural areas, while simultaneously ensuring that these former peasants can be maintained in a state of perpetual peonage.

Hollis is at pains to retain a global perspective, writing more about the cities of the emergent BRICK (sic) economies than he does about the boring old bricks-and-mortar town I live in. He rightly sees the future of the city as being shaped by developments to the east and the south, where the megalopolises of the 21st century will — or so late capitalism’s flag-wavers believe — arise, replete with gleaming towers worthy of Oz.’ Will Self, Guardian

 

‘Hollis’s book picks away at this long running tension between top-down organisation and the tendency to let a city grow organically.’ Independent

 

‘The book spirals out across the world as Hollis investigates what makes the city tick, and how living there can make us more intelligent, creative and even happier . . . .a useful counterpoint to those who would argue that the big bad city is to be escaped at all costs.’ — Ben East, Observer

 

‘Leo Hollis is nothing if not ambitious. . . a ramble through the ailing relationship between humanity and the metropolis. This is an extremely timely exercise . . . fascinating and thoroughly researched . . .He is besotted with the irreducible humanity of city life; the confluence of harmony and violence, struggle and unrestrained success.’ — Ed Hammond, Financial Times

 

‘a surprisingly positive perspective on urban living’ — Traveller Magazine

 

From Mumbai to Shanghai, Hollis is the perfect guide to the art, science and even maths of what makes cities so great —Marcus du Sautoy

 

In Cities Are Good for You Leo Hollis aims to set the record straight on the places where more than half the world’s population now lives. He does so with gusto … An intriguing book —The Times

 

Leo Hollis has written an eloquent, nuanced, and learned account of the ways in which cities can serve as conduits for happiness. His wide-ranging and acute observations of the interaction of the social and the formal map an optimistic and incisive vision of an emergent – and indispensable – urbanism predicated on sustainability, equity, imagination and trust —Michael Sorkin

 

Combing a wealth of info on cities the world over with anecdote and experience, Hollis’s fascinating book touts the theory that our path to salvation is the city itself  —Fabric Magazine

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