In most cases a planned city is simply necessary for in stance when the old one has become dysfunctional as in the case of Paris which had densified to nearly a million inhabitants by the middle of the 19th century The city was cramped dark and smelly It had no drinking water sup ply no sewer system but a high infant mortality rate and was repeatedly struck by epidemics In 1853 Georges Eu gène Baron Haussmann the prefect of Paris ordered some 19 000 buildings to be torn down as a last resort In their stead wide tree lined boulevards squares tall residential BEAUTIFIED LIVING buildings and numerous monuments were built resulting in the classicistic Paris The construction sites produced noise and dust for more than twenty years Haussmann s plan was regarded as a success and benchmark for all sub sequent urban planning But the conversion revealed the downside of any clean sweep project As neighbors and fa miliar streets disappear so does the identity of the old city and the feeling of being at home And when rents increase as they did in Haussmann s Paris long established and poor residents are displaced to the outskirts Cities have always had their own mo mentum and their hearts are beating faster and faster They grow stag nate and shrink But where and how do cities actually emerge and what keeps them alive The hope for profit is the engine that drives any city Wherever people ex change goods information and ser vices they ll be joined by others seek ing to profit from these activities as well This is how even as far back as in antiquity settlements and the first towns were established along trading routes Because ships were the most effective means of transportation in those days cities primarily grew on waterfronts The first advanced civi lizations in antiquity were primarily formed around the Mediterranean Sea and along the big rivers of Persia and China The first metropolis with a population of more than a million was Rome around 300 AD Only after the Romans had established trade and military routes northward along the Danube and the Rhine did bigger cit ies emerge in Central Europe as well They remained lively trading places even when the Romans withdrew In the early Medieval Period numer ous principalities and bishoprics emerged Their fortresses and abbeys offered work and protection for the local population and for merchants perfect for settlements to grow into small towns Cities actually began to burgeon in England and North America Around 1800 inventions like the steam engine and the mechanical loom accelerated the production of goods The railroad that had just been developed offered a fast means of transportation Billow ing smoke stacks above the city sil houettes promised work and attracted millions of impoverished farmhands London the mother of all industrial towns was the fastest growing city in the world at that time Progress arrived in heavily fragmented Central Europe a few decades later following a new geopolitical order and estab lishment of a free trade zone As a result industrial cities and regions began to flourish there as well The Ruhr region and the Saarland sup plied coal ore and steel for railroad construction Berlin and Chemnitz benefited from mechanical engineer ing the textile industry and later from the electrical and chemical industry In the 19th century the population of Berlin increased ten fold to nearly two million At the beginning of the 21st century most people are still living in cities particularly on the coasts of South East Asia Africa and Latin America They re still hoping for work safety shelter education and prosperity The greater their hope the faster the city will grow The smaller the hope the faster it will shrink such as in the case of the ailing industrial metropolises of Detroit Manchester or Chemnitz an urban inhaling and exhaling with an increasingly fast rhythm London for instance as the world s biggest city 100 years ago had a population of some seven mil lion which does not compare with the roughly 36 megacities today that each have over ten million inhabitants The world is turning into a city WHY CITIES ARE WHERE THEY ARE Paris and the Eiffel Tower its tallest landmark 39 in motion

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