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About this Video

We have become a predominantly urban species and that is, on the whole, a good thing. Cities enable the collaborative chains of creativity that have been fueling human invention since Socrates and Plato bickered on an Athenian street corner. Cities, at their best, are engines of opportunity that turn poor people into rich people, and poor countries into rich countries.

But there are also demons that come with density. Contagious disease, crime, traffic congestion and high housing costs can also accompany urban crowding. Managing the downsides of the mass urbanization is one of the great vocations of the 21st century, especially in the growing cities of the developing world.

In the west, we must work to ensure that the benefits of urban creativity flow to a wider spectrum of the population, which includes both the less advantaged in cities and those who live in lower density regions.


About the Speaker

Edward Glaeser

Edward Glaeser

Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992. He regularly teaches microeconomic theory, occasionally urban and public economics and has served as Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston for a decade. He has published dozens of papers on cities, economic growth, and law and economics. In particular, his work has focused on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers of idea transmission. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1992.