chapter  1
15 Pages

Urban transformations and the future of cities

ByEdward L. Glaeser

This chapter discusses few trends that have come together to make humankind an urban species. In East Asia, urbanization has been part of a collective process of rapid industrialization and development that echoes the earlier Western industrial revolution, but on steroids. The chapter explains the positive and negative consequences of massive poor world urbanization. It focuses on governance problem in cities, which is separated as policy and politics. Global trade in food, and improvements in agricultural productivity such as the Green Revolution, have helped the rise of poor-world urbanization. The consequence of this trend is that massive cities have emerged in places that are both poor and poorly governed. The chapter also discusses the "Boston Hypothesis", raised by Edward L. Glaeser and B. M. Steinberg which suggests that cities will improve their own governments through democratic revolution and peaceful reform. While urban concentration does make regime change more likely, it is less clear that stable democracies will naturally emerge from even successful uprisings.