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Opinion: The post-pandemic city

October 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

In an lightly adapted excerpt of his new book, Fareed Zakaria writes that cities will come back from the pandemic, which is proving Aristotle right: By nature, humans are social animals.

(CNN)One of the most noticeable aspects of Covid-19 is that it has cast a huge shadow on the world's great cities, where many of us live.

Will cities come back?

But cities are an ideal way to organize human beings for modern life -- allowing people to mingle, work, and play, all in the same place.

In 2011, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg could boast that residents of his city had a life expectancy that was two full years higher than the national average.

"If you want to live longer and healthier than the average American, then come to New York City," he urged.

As more people have moved into cities in the last centuries, cities have grown in significance, politically.

Today, the developing world's cities face issues of exponentially greater size, but, they could easily apply some of the solutions Western cities did a century ago, centering on sanitation and clean water.

The United Nations estimates that 59% of the world's cities with a population of at least half a million are at high risk from natural disasters -- from cyclones to floods, droughts, earthquakes, landslides, or volcanic eruptions.

Cities still have their problems, of course.

As John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker explain in their study of global demography, "As a society urbanizes, and women gain more power, the ties of kin, the power of organized religion, and the dominance of men decline, along with the fertility rate. " Cities free women from restrictive village life, providing them with new opportunities.

Almost every important political, social, and economic movement began in a city.

One of the first works of political science, Aristotle's "Politics," written around 350 BC, declares on its first pages that man is by nature a "social animal. " Humans create cities and cities make humans -- these are two sides of the same coin.

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