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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume II, Wellbeing and the Environment by Elizabeth Burton, Rachel Cooper, Cary L. Cooper

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6

Living in the City

Mixed Use and Quality of Life

Graeme Evans

Middlesex University, U.K.

Introduction

More than 50% of the world's population now lives in cities and by 2050 this is forecast to reach two thirds of the global population: in the United Kingdom 90% of people already live in urban and suburban areas, or more if we include those who travel to the city or town for work. Over 40 years ago Henri Lefebvre (1968) maintained that society had become completely urbanized: this urbanization was virtual then but would become real in the future. This urban state is not just an administrative city or urban agglomeration, but essentially one of urban society and social relations and the effects of industrialization, which has absorbed agricultural production and the countryside, including its recreational and “greenbelt” role, for urban dwellers and urban development.

When Dickens wrote a Tale of Two Cities (1859), London had become the first industrial world city with over a million inhabitants; now this world city is outstripped by megacities of Asia, Africa, and South America: from Lagos to Sao Paolo and from Mumbai to Mexico City. Regional geographers and economists now talk of city regions as the real powerhouse of the weakening nation state, with long-distance daily commuting extending the city boundaries: over 1 million people travel to London each day. In Mexico City the average daily commute is 2.5 hr and by 2050 in the United Kingdom it is forecast that the average time ...

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