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
The 21st century will be the age of the city. Already over 50% of the world population lives in urban centres and over the coming decades this percentage will increase – with consequences for us all.
But this does not mean that things will only get worse. In fact our urban future might just be something to look forward to. Blending anecdote, fact and first hand encounters – from exploring the slums of Mumbai, to visiting recycling centres in Stockholm and attending secret dinner parties in Paris, to riding the bus in Latin America – Leo Hollis reveals that we have misunderstood how cities work for too long.
Upending long-held assumptions and challenging accepted wisdom, he explores: why cities can never be rational, organised places; how we can walk in a crowd without bumping into people, and if we can design places that make people want to kiss; whether we have the right solution to the problem of the slums; how ants, slime mould and traffic jams can make us rethink congestion. And above all, Hollis unearths the unexpected reasons for why living in the city can make us fitter, richer, smarter, greener, more creative – and, perhaps, even happier.
CITIES ARE GOOD FOR YOU introduces dreamers, planners, revolutionaries, writers, scientists, architects, slum-dwellers and emperors. It is shaped by the idea that cities are the greatest social experiment in human history, built for people, and by the people.
Leo Hollis lives in London and is a publisher at Constable and Robinson. He studied History at the University of East Anglia and has worked as an editor at Fourth Estate and Penguin. He has contributed to various magazines and has written two guidebooks, including HISTORIC LONDON WALKS (Cadogan Guides, 2005). He is also the author of THE PHOENIX: The Men Who Made Modern London (Weidenfeld, 2008), which the Economist called ‘A tour de force of biography, history, politics, philosophy and experimental science.’