Related imageThe Urban Age Project by the London School of Economics and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society

Phaidon, Hardback, $100

We end 2008 with a favourite of ours at Sustainable Future. The Endless City is a tome of a book, and is one you could easily spend hours browsing through over the holidays.
The startling cover outlines the key issue at hand: 10% lived in cities in 1900, 50% is living in cities in 2007, 75% will be living in cities in 2050. With such an increase in both the populations of existing cities, and the growth of new cities, the importance of understanding how a city functions, thrives and grows sustainably is paramount.

Such a huge lesson is often difficult to absorb, and essays from a range of renowned contributors offer depth and perspective. What makes The Endless City unique, however, are the book’s visual displays. Innovative data-analysis software offers impressive maps and graphics quickly conveying the widely varying nature of growth and making the wealth of numbers, statistics and facts used within the book easy to understand.

The book compares and contrasts the growth of six major cities: New York, London, Johannesburg, Shanghai, Mexico City and Berlin. Patterns and vast differences become clear in the types of growth occurring in each of these cities, and as such, it becomes possible to identify the social, structural and economic aspects of a thriving modern city.
For further information visit the book’s website or the Urban Age Project website.

Reviewed by Willow Henderson, December 2008