I really enjoyed reading both chapters and how they go
along with what Dr. Faria talked about during our first class. It was interesting
to learn about how cities thrive because of the meaningful human interactions.
Since the early centuries cities have been imperative on the knowledge exchange
between civilizations and urban proximity facilitated this task by reducing the
complex communication course. In chapter
1, Gleaser emphasized the importance of face-to face interactions and how it “leads
to more trust, generosity, and cooperation than any other type of interaction”
(page 35). He introduced significant examples that ranged from the fifty
century B.C. to the twentieth first century. We often assume that technology
minimize face-to-face interactions, but according to Glaser it is actually the opposite.
He argues that the improvements in information technology can lead to more
face-to face contact which leads to better connections between people, creating
more opportunity for trade and commerce (page 38). Improvement in technology is
beneficial in several areas as it facilitates in telecommunications,
transportation, globalization and commerce.
In chapter 2, Glaeser explored why some citied decay. He
used examples like Detroit to illustrate the downfalls and successes of cities.
Some attributes that created urban prosperity and made cities successful were “specialized
skills, small enterprises and strong connection with the outside world” (page
42). He emphasized that the decline of some cities was due to the mistake of
confusing the city, “which is really a mass of connected humanity, with
structures” (page 43)”. Detroit thrives were due to the auto industry and
Fordism. He also describes how the automobiles had a great impact in the
economy and enabled Americans to live in distant suburbs not having to rely so
much on public transportation. Detroit decline was caused by auto industry
competitions, urban decline, failure to fight crimes and police brutality which
caused race riots. The riots did a huge damage to the African American community
and increased the crime rates in parts of the city. As we take a look throughout
American history racism we start to understand why so many African-American
were in favor of rioting in the 1960’s. Gleaser lists some of the lists why
some African Americans were inclined to riot: “they’d been brutalized by a
police force full of whites recruited from the south; they had been systematically
excluded from white jobs in the auto industry for decades, and the jobs they
did typically either paid lower wages or offered worse working conditions”. The
riots were manly unemployed African Americans.
The main focus of these two chapter is that cities are made
of people and the importance of urbanization. When people are doing well the
cities then to flourish.