Arrival City Readings Take Off

February 12th, 2015

The City Builder Book Club’s online reading of Doug Saunders’ Arrival City took off on January 13, with an introductory essay by Mary Rowe, Municipal Art Society of New York City (MASNYC) which we have excerpted below:

MAS Arrival City2_2014-04-08-12-45-33Arrival cities and the eloquence of human resilience

 “Perhaps the most important point of this book, and the exercise of this book club, to remind us to watch carefully what actually happens in the arrival city. People come, as they always have, and now in greater numbers, to cities with an expectation that their lives and those of their families will be more productive, have more meaning and fulfillment. Despite the extraordinary success of the world’s cities an engines of wealth creation, guarantors of civil rights, and generators of stunning creative expression, beauty and excellence of all kinds, there are still naysayers, in both hemispheres and all continents (well, six) who doubt the capacity of cities to successfully absorb people, fearing some sort of urban cataclysm.

 Arrival City speaks so eloquently to the resilience of the human race, not only as individuals, but as a collective, and to the resilience of what is arguable our greatest achievement: cities. We are a communal species, thankfully, and our future rests with each other, and our collective capacity to understand what kind of problem a city is, and continue to build better. Because a city is never done. Cities enable people. Cities enable hope. Welcome to the City Builder Book Club Volume 2: Arrival City.”     – Mary Rowe, on Arrival City

For Mary’s full text and more from fellow-contributors, visit the Arrival City reading schedule where you’ll find a cast of global contributors, as well as City Sound Walks  and supplementary readings from the justly famous Toronto Public Library, after Singapore, the world’s largest public library system.

Urbanization of the Village

ArrivalCity cover_caReaders are now deep into the book’s Chapter 4: The Urbanization of the Village, with contributor Tanzeel Merchant, City Building Institute at Ryerson University, who notes that cities and city-dwellers cling to “illusory, romantic associations with rural life” when the reality of rural poverty and deprivation paints a very different picture.  Notwithstanding the unrelenting pace of global urbanization, Merchant reminds us, “there will always be a rural constituency.” Like Saunders he is optimistic about the future of the rural poor, but also mindful of what we owe them:

“Farms will get larger, more productive, and more efficient, driven by the economics and realities of labour and mechanisation. Discussions and conflicts will arise on simplistic assumptions of governance and power that are premised on size and growth. This chapter clearly illustrates the mutually beneficial relationships between the cities and villages, and how these connections need to be sustained and nurtured to allow both to coexist and support one another. In this march towards urbanisation, let this not be forgotten.”

We hope discussions like these will inspire you to add your voice  to an energetic dialogue  on issues of urban migration from innovative planning, policy and design solutions to social entrepreneurship. rights and advocacy.

Arrival City invites you to respond to the phenomenon of this massive shift.  Join the City Builder Book Club for a global conversation.

Follow us on Twitter @CityBuilderBook and join the conversation with the hashtags #ArrivalCity and #CityBuilders.

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