This week in 1501, Michelangelo began work on his statue of David, one of Renaissance Italy’s most famous works of art. The artist took three years to complete the piece, unveiling it in 1504. David was originally meant to stand on the roof-line of the Florence Cathedral, but it (he) was instead placed at Palazzo Vecchio in the public square. In 1873, David was moved to the Gallery of the Academy of Florence, with a replica standing in the original site.
How have cities thrived and spread for the last five thousand years when they labor under such heavy burdens? In historic societies, city-dwellers lived shorter, less healthy lives than country-folk and produced too few children to maintain urban populations, requiring a flow of immigrants from the country. That’s because urban crowding produces filth, disease, and stress. Many modern cities have solved the hygiene problem (though some haven’t), but they still suffer from traffic, noise pollution, high rents, crime, and awful schools, leading millions to flee to the suburbs. Many in the 1990’s thought the Internet would be the death of cities, as virtual commuting freed workers to live among the trees and flowers. Instead, cities have continued the expansion they’ve enjoyed since ancient Sumer. Continue reading “Cities, Creativity, and Why the World Will Never Be Flat”