No matter how mundane a city’s origins, urban concentrations can have magical consequences. So says the great urban economist Edward Glaeser.
He points out that the Romans settled on an island in the Seine because it was a good spot to protect themselves against unfriendly Gauls. Two thousand years later we have Paris, one of the greatest centres of cultural and economic innovation on the planet.
Here in Australia, our cities are mere infants compared to Paris but, like cities pretty much everywhere, ours face an immense array of challenges. We are among the most urbanised of nations with three out of every four Australians living in cities. And though we might be good at farming and mining, it is our cities that generate 80 per cent of our wealth.
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You’d be laughed out of town if you said that you’d moved to regional Australia for the hustle and bustle, so why do people who live in big cities spend so much time complaining how noisy it is.
Message to city-dwellers: when you choose to live in a metropolis there’s a few things that you must accept.
a) It’s never going to be easy to find a parking spot. b) You’re probably going to have a frustratingly small wheelie bin that will be stolen more than a handful or times and, c) It’s never, never, ever, ever going to be quiet. Never.
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