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Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper by Robert Bryce

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12

DENSITY AND THE WEALTH OF CITIES

We humans are unusual in the animal kingdom in that we are eusocial. Only a handful of species—including bees, ants, termites, and us—like to live in large colonies.1 For millennia, our innate eusociality, our desire to divide the chores among a large group of individuals and cooperate for the common good, has been driving us to cities.

Cities, said Descartes, provide “an inventory of the possible.” And for about 7,000 years, we have been escaping the cloister of isolated farms and organizing ourselves into colonies not of dozens of people, or hundreds, but of thousands. By about 3000 B.C., the city of Ur in ...

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