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Survival of the City

Edward Glaeser, David Cutler

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Social & cultural history

The Survival of the City tackles the complex issues that face our cities and proposes tangible, practical solutions for a post-COVID world.

From New York to New Delhi, COVID-19 has locked down our urban world. Restaurants are shuttered, subways run almost empty and we cross the street to avoid close contact with strangers. For the moment, low density living looks better and wiser than crowding together in urban apartments and those who are able to have moved out to the space of the country or the suburbs.

Will this change become permanent? Will fear of contagion persist for decades and demolish the appeal of urban proximity? Will the COVID-19 pandemic be a hinge in history that marks humanity's retreat from the cities that have powered our progress for millennia? Or instead, will this become a brief aberration that is no better remembered than the outbreak of plague in Mumbai in 1896?

Leading experts, Edward Glaeser and David Cutler, in health and urban economics respectively, examine the history and future of the modern city. They also suggest that global monitoring, pre-emptive vaccine development, stockpiles of safety equipment, and better urban public health systems will radically reduce the chance that pandemic risk will reappear regularly.

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