In a new book much talked-about these days, Ed Glaeser "argues that cities often get a bad rap even though they are “actually the healthiest, greenest, and richest (in cultural and economic terms) places to live. New Yorkers, for instance, live longer than other Americans; heart disease and cancer rates are lower in Gotham than in the nation as a whole. More than half of America’s income is earned in twenty-two metropolitan areas. And city dwellers use, on average, 40 percent less energy than suburbanites.”" (this is Dubner writing on freakonomics). Check out the verz positive reviews of The Economist and the NY Times.
Accroding to reviews, Glaeser explains how urban density contributed to the birth of restaurants, why supermarket check-out clerks demonstrate the competitive advantage such density confers and how the birth of Def Jam Records illustrates the way cities spur artistic innovation.
I can't help to think of how Geneva, though a world city, lacks this creativity and dynamism. Maybe bulding restrictions, especially on height, push up the prices of housing and hurts those who might otherwise move in, and hence perhaps the potential of a soulful place.
I'm off ot the bookstore.