Independent Research and Policy Advocacy

Making Room for a Planet of Cities

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In a report titled “Making Room for a Planet of Cities”, Shlomo Angel et al examine how the prevailing planning paradigm of containment, which is predicated on the containment of sprawl in cities, is unsuitable for rapidly urbanizing countries like India. The report is based on a study of the historical evolution of urban land cover in 120 cities, including 30 cities for which maps and data are available from 1800.

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Also the blog’s latest post features Vishnu’s review of Edward Glaeser’s book “Triumph of the city”.


Edward Glaeser’s compelling book “Triumph of the city” is part-history of cities and why they thrive or decline and part-travelogue that takes us through urban streetscapes around the world; but above all, it’s a personal ode to the city.

The book’s central point is that humans are an urban species who do wonders when they collaborate. Cities facilitate this collaboration and enable the joint production of knowledge through free flow of ideas. Throughout history, cities have been engines of innovation and progress. Ancient Athens, a prosperous trading town attracted the best minds from war torn Asia Minor. This first generation of migrants and the influence of their ideas on friends and students led to a remarkable time in history that witnessed the birth of Western philosophy, drama and history. Great ideas flourished when artists and scholars lived in close proximity, exchanging ideas freely.

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