Book review: Living in the endless city

10th August 2011

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Living in the endless city

Edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic / Phaidon Press / Hardback: £39.95 / ISBN: 978–0–7148–6118–0

This fascinating book – the outcome of work by the London School of Economics’ Urban Age project and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society – explores the physical and social dimensions of living in three of the fastest growing mega-cities: Mumbai, São Paulo and Istanbul.

It examines the biggest issues facing these ever growing cities, such as globalisation, immigration, jobs, social exclusion and sustainability, through remarkable photographs and revealing statistics and maps on everything from murder rates to environmental impacts.

Did you know, for example, that 2% of the earth’s surface is occupied by cities containing 53% of the world’s population? Or that the population of Istanbul has soared from 1.2 million in 1950 to 12.9 million in 2010?

The lives of the inhabitants of the three cities are also contrasted with those of other city dwellers, mainly in the developed world.

The average New Yorker emits 20 times more CO2 than an average Mumbaikar, while daily water consumption in the Indian city is 90 litres (on a per capita basis) compared with the equivalent measure for New York of 607 litres.

A wonderful book for everyone interested in urban development and environmental limits.


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