Will-Great-Cities-Survive.pdf - Will Great Cities Survive Author(s Joel Kotkin Source The Wilson Quarterly(1976 Vol 29 No 2(Spring 2005 pp 16-27

Will-Great-Cities-Survive.pdf - Will Great Cities Survive...

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Will Great Cities Survive? Author(s): Joel Kotkin Source: The Wilson Quarterly (1976-) , Vol. 29, No. 2 (Spring, 2005), pp. 16-27 Published by: Wilson Quarterly Stable URL: Accessed: 08-11-2016 04:11 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Wilson Quarterly, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Wilson Quarterly (1976-) This content downloaded from on Tue, 08 Nov 2016 04:11:42 UTC All use subject to
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Will Great Cities Survive? For the first time in human history, a majority of the earth's population lives in cities. But though great cities have been among humanity's supreme achievements down through the ages, they now face an uncertain future, threatened by forces that could undermine the very things that have made them great. by Joel Kotkin November 8, 1519, Bernai Diaz del Castillo saw a sight that would stay with him forever. Serving under Hernando Cortés, the 27-year-old Spanish soldier had already encountered signs of urban civilization that multiplied as he and his comrades marched from the humid lowlands of Mexico up into the volcanic highlands. (In a hint of what was to come, he not- ed "piles of human skulls" arranged in neat rows atop the provincial temples.) Then, suddenly, a city of almost unimaginable scale appeared, built high in the mountains on a lake crowned by a circle of volcanic peaks. Diaz beheld broad causeways filled with canoes, avenues where every kind of produce, fowl, and utensil was being sold, elaborate flower-decked homes, large palaces, and temples rising bright in the Mexican sun: Gazing on such wonderful sights, we did not know what to do or say, or whether what appeared before us was real, for on one side, on the land, were great cities; and in the lake ever so many more, and the lake itself was crowded with canoes, and in the Causeway were many bridges at intervals, and in front of us stood the great City of Mexico. The sights Diaz saw that November day were such as have always inspired human beings encountering great cities. His was the reaction of a Semitic nomad in the presence of the walls and pyramids of Sumer 5,000 years earlier, or a Chinese provincial official entering Loyang in the seventh century B.c., or a Muslim pilgrim arriving by caravan at the gates of ninth-century Baghdad, or an Italian immigrant in the early 20th century spying the awe- some towers of New York from the deck of a steamer.
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