The identity of a city

Post date: Aug 17, 2016 10:59:01 PM

About half of the world’s population currently lives in cities or towns. Why? And why are so many more eager to join them? Can economic opportunities alone account for this migration? Or are there other motivations at play?

A few preliminary considerations are in good order before attempting to answer these questions:

1. The fulfillment of any human being’s potential is limited, in principle, only by (life)time and (ever more scarcely) material resources.

2. Most human beings are instinctively driven to maximize their potential, either as a requirement for survival (freedom from) or out of ambition (freedom to), and the concentration of functions in and around cities or towns still provides a substantial advantage for individual fulfillment over rural settlements.

3. Different urban environments offer varying degrees of opportunity for individual fulfillment, but most surpass rural environments in opportunities on offer, because the quantitative advantage (density) provides substantial support for the qualitative advantage (choice).

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