In 1975, NYC narrowly averted bankruptcy. In Shakespeare’s London, life expectancy was six years lower than the rest of the country. An 1842 report by Edwin Chadwick noted that a labourer in rural Rutland expected to live over twice as long as a labourer in the city of Liverpool.
These cities built infrastructure backed by new laws such as the UK’s 1848 Public Health Act. NYC built an entire city underneath its city: 438 miles of subway lines, 6,000 miles of sewers, and thousands of miles of gas mains.
It paid off. Today, life expectancy in NYC is higher than the national average — even the poorest live longer than poor elsewhere in the U.S. In London, mean earnings are 1.3 times the U.K. average. While people in Liverpool now live twice as long today.
All I’m saying is that cities have turned it around before. They have contained congestion, crime, and pollution to attract smart people — allowing people to exchange ideas and build better lives.
Feature Image: Credit: © Steve Duncan / Barcroft Media