Ironies and Oddities of History's 'Future Cities'
Brooklyn blogger Brady Dale offers concise highlights of the quirky juxtapositions of the mega-cities in Daniel Brook's recently published A History of Future Cities.
Brook's book looks at the strange yet still relevant histories of Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai and St. Petersburg, making the case that the forces that drove their development are still at work in the rapidly globalizing cities of today.
Dale is particularly fascinated by the economic and political power struggles that shaped infrastructure and cultural life in these cities, citing trivia about how Bollywood managed to thrive under a Socialist government, how Dubai openly censors the internet, how Peter the Great refused to let construction workers use wheelbarrows and how Shanghai avoided building a sewage system for the sake of profits.
Concerned about a largely inactive electorate that votes according to untested economic mantras, Dale also makes a case for why the relationship between government and its people in these four cities resonates with the American political status quo.