Can cities make us better citizens?

My list


What is a city? The sociologist Richard Sennett once opted for a deceptively simple definition: a city, he wrote, is “a human settlement in which strangers are likely to meet.” For Sennett, meeting strangers is a civic duty. He arrived at this belief in the course of a fifty-year career, and his latest book, “Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City,” distills into a single volume his thoughts on how urban design shapes the ways in which we relate to one another. Consistent, throughout, is the notion of the city as a place where we tolerate those who are different. Immigrant? Stockbroker? Both? Who cares? The anonymity of the metropolis makes one indifferent to difference. As the German adage has it, stadtluft macht frei. City air makes you free.

+INFO: The New Yorker

+PHOTO: The New Yorker

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