Edward L. Glaeser

Professor of Economics, Harvard University | Urban Economist | Author, "Triumph of the City"
Ed Glaeser combines the warmth of a humanist and the rigor of an economist to deliver deep insights into city life and America's urban landscape. He studies the effects that cities have on innovation, society, and the environment. His rigorously researched conclusions frequently challenge commonly-held assumptions about urban and rural areas. Ed's views find powerful expression in his book Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier. His most recent book is Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation, co-authored with David Cutler.

Survival of the City is a profound reckoning with where cities are right now and a clear-eyed and wise prognosis and prescription for the healthy future we so keenly need for them. The fate of the city, the authors show, is the fate of us all. 

Great cities have always demanded great management, and our current crisis has exposed fearful gaps in our capacity for good governance. It is possible to drive a city into the ground, pandemic or not. Glaeser and Cutler examine the evolution that is already happening, and describe the possible futures that lie before us. Older and more settled people may increasingly opt out of city life, but that will open cities up further for the young and the aspirational. In terms of intimacy and inspiration, nothing can replace what cities can offer.

Triumph of the City is a Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year in 2011.

Triumph of the City is a strong argument for the extraordinary benefits of cities and city life. Cities are commonly perceived as more dangerous than rural communities, worse for the environment, and even worse for the mental and social health of the people who live in them. Ed offers hard evidence that none of this is true: cities are greener, healthier environments than suburban or rural environments.

"Edward Glaeser is one of the world's most brilliant economists, and Triumph of the City is a masterpiece...seamlessly combining economics and history."
— Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics

In particular, Ed argues that the city is a powerful laboratory for innovation because of the way physical proximity and face-to-face communication facilities the flow and growth of ideas. And in today's economy, where transportation and production costs keep falling, ideas are any industry's most valuable resource. So if we want to move forward, economically and technologically, we're going to need policies that treat cities well and wise city management. Those two forces will shape everything from the rebirth of the Rust Belt to the growth of developing economies. Good policies mean healthy cities — and cities are the key to making it through this world’s economic and environmental crises.

Ed Glaeser has taught at Harvard University since 1992. Today, he is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor at the Department of Economics. For 10 years, he was Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and as Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, both at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He has written essays for The New Republic.


Triumph of the City

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State of Downtown 2023: Keynote Speech by Ed Glaeser
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State of Downtown 2023: Q&A with Ed Glaeser
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Triumph of the City | London School of Economics
Edward L. Glaeser
The Genius of Cities | Smart City Expo World Congress
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The Entrenched vs. The Newcomers | 2019 James Q. Wilson Lecture
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The Comeback of Cities in the Digital Age
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Cities in the Developing World
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Are Big Cities Past Their Prime | Intelligence Squared Debate
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Free to Build
City Journal
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You may get more work done at home. But you'd have better ideas at the office.
The Washington Post
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Will Cities Survive Another Pandemic?
Harvard Magazine
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The Health and Wealth of Cities
Conversations with Tyler
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The Future of the American City: My Long-read Q&A with Ed Glaeser
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How Can Cities Survive?
City Journal



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