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Op-Ed Decries the Idea of the 'Triumph of the City'

An unflinching op-ed begs a rethinking of narratives that cheer the "Triumph of the City." In the contemporary city, the argument goes, only the rich are better off from urbanization.
July 31, 2015, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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A CityMetric post by Deepa Naik and Trenton Oldfield makes a provocative argument:

"Alarmingly, everything everyone one thinks they know about urbanization and cities is mistaken, absolutely and entirely.  Contrary to the heavily promoted narrative, people arenot cheerfully and enthusiastically moving to cities. Most of the world’s population have been forced to, or left with no other alternative but to attempt to make a life in a city."

Naik and Oldfield also note that urbanization processes in history, such as Britain of the 18th and 19th centuries and the Post-World War II United States, were forced through various methods.

Another bleak pronouncement: "Despite the assurances of the Urban Industry, westernised cities are not 'good for you'. And doses of wealth, health and wisdom will not trickle down to their inhabitants."

Certainly, there is no small amount of exuberance over the perceived contemporary renaissance of urban living—but this article argues that that common narrative is misguided. In London, for example, residents "are leaving in droves."

The article goes on to elaborate on more of the implications of the current trends in urbanization—especially its impacts on at-risk and low-income populations all over the world. The article is an example of frank, tough talk at its most provocative.

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Published on Friday, July 24, 2015 in Citymetric
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