Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis. Leo Hollis. Bloomsbury Press.

Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis Book Cover Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis
Leo Hollis
Bloomsbury Press
July 16, 2013

The 21st century will be the age of the city. Already, over 50 percent of the world’s population lives in urban centers and over the coming decade to this percentage will increase – with consequences for us all. This does not mean that things will only get worse. In fact, our urban future might just be something to look forward to.

Blending anecdote, fact, and first-hand encounters – for from exploring the slums of Mumbai, to visiting rooftop farms in Brooklyn and attending secret dinner parties in Paris, to riding the bus in Latin America – Leo Hollis reveals that we have misunderstood how cities work for too long.

Upending long-held assumptions and challenging accepted wisdom, he explores why cities can never be rational, organize places; how we can walk in a crowd without bumping into people; if we can design places that make people want to kiss; whether we have the right solution to the problem of slums; and how ants, slime mold, and traffic jams can make us rethink congestion. And above all, the unexpected reasons why living in the city can make us fitter, richer, smarter, greener, more creative – and, perhaps, even happier.

Leo Hollis is a writer and historian. Born in London, he studied at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of the critically acclaimed London Rising: The Men Who Made Modern London and the stones of London: A History in Twelve Buildings. His appeared on TV and spoken on radio promoting the advantages of urban life. He lives in London with his family. Visit his website at and follow him on Twitter at @leohollis.