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The Happiness of Cities

Public lecture hosted by LSE Cities

In this LSE Cities public lecture Ed Glaeser looked at the happiness of residents in big cities.

Residents of cities typically earn higher wages, but are they any happier? According to surveys on life satisfaction, American cities were once less happy than rural areas. Industrial areas seem once to have paid wages that were high enough for their residents to put up with a little misery, but this is no longer true. The unhappier cities of America’s industrial heartland have shrunk, while the happier cities have grown, and today there is no relationship between city size and self-reported life satisfaction within the U.S. The developing world today appears to be reversing the Western industrial pattern of happy farms/unhappy cities, with far higher levels of life satisfaction in urban areas.

Image: Thomas Hawk

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Profiles

  • Ed Glaeser

    Ed Glaeser

    Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992. He is Director of the Rappaport Institute of Greater Boston. He regularly teaches microeconomic theory, and occasionally urban and public economics. He has published dozens of papers on cities, economic growth, and law and economics. In particular, his work has focused on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers of idea transmission. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1992.

  • Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies and Director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme. He sits on the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, is a Council Member of the Royal College of Art and Trustee of the Norman Foster Foundation. He was Chief Advisor on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural advisor to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. He was Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2006 and curator of the Global Cities exhibition at Tate Modern in 2007. Burdett has been on architectural juries for high-profile projects including Tate Modern, London’s Aquatic Centre, Rothschild Bank Headquarters, Holland Green and Elizabeth House and has worked on major regeneration projects across Europe and the USA, including the 8-million sq ft redevelopment around Penn Station in New York City. He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honours List.