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Age of the City

Listed as a Financial Times Economic Book of the Year


Visionary Oxford professor Ian Goldin, together with The Economist's Tom Lee-Devlin, show how the city - the ultimate symbol of human ingenuity - is where the battles of climate change, pandemics, inequality and loneliness must be faced.


From centres of antiquity like Athens or Rome to modern metropolises like New York or Shanghai, our cities have shaped our past and will define our future. Our greatest achievements have originated in cities - the birth of democracy in Athens, the renaissance in Florence, the industrial revolution in Manchester, the digital revolution in Palo Alto. Making sense of our world, and our future, requires that we understand where cities are heading. Professor Ian Goldin has spent his career identifying the four main threats we face in order to build a sustainable future - the pandemics caused by our globalized world, the dizzying damage which will be done by climate change, the inequality which plagues future generations, and the loneliness which is symbolized by our retreat into the metaverse and online atomization.


In this book, Professor Goldin and Tom Lee-Devlin show how cities, where we increasingly live, are at a crossroads. The choices they take will shape our destinies. For the first time in history, more than half the global population lives in cities. In the developing world, cities are growing at an extraordinary rate. More than ever, making our societies fairer, more cohesive, and sustainable starts with actions taken in the places where most of us live. They show how cities started, the economic and human reasons they became so dominant, and how the megacities of the future must be used to tip the balance towards a sustainable and fulfilling future for us all.

Age of the City

  • Ian Goldin and Tom Lee-Devlin

    An in-depth look at the major challenges facing humanity today and why the city - the ultimate symbol of human ingenuity - is where these battles will be won or lost.

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  • Book Details

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Continuum
    Publication Date: 22-06-2023
    Format: Hardback | 234 x 153mm | 256 pages
  • About the Authors

    Ian Goldin is Professor of Development and Globalisation at the University of Oxford and former Vice President of the World Bank. Ian's recent publications include Rescue: From Global Crisis to a Better World (HC, 2021), Terra Incognita: 100 Maps to Survive the Next 100 Years (PRH, 2020), and Age of Discovery (Bloomsbury, 2016).

    Tom Lee-Devlin is a writer at The Economist. He previously worked as a management consultant at Bain & Company and led research for the firm's global think tank, Bain Futures.

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