NYC’s Selfless, Selfless, Synergy

This post is of the the review I created for New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation by Thomas Dyja. I am also posting it here because from my reading and the data provided in this book, it suggests NYC practices paneugenesis. The book documents how NYC generates comprehensive improvements and how these improvements were caused to happen. Specifically, the book outlines how these improvements became more likely from fan environmental design to create pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions, so everyone and everything benefits. While this was the aim of must, it was interesting to learn about the interactive process required to make it work. Overall it is a great read and I encourage you to read his book. It documents how the findings of Glaeser play out in life (see Updated Review of Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City).

Here is the review I posted on Google Books and in Goodreads:

New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation by Thomas Dyja ©2021 provides a wonderful history of New York City’s roller coast ride it has taken over the last 40 Years. The book traces how the city evolved and or receded and how those changes related to who was mayor. The book takes off after Beame was mayor then Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Rudy Guiliani, Michael Bloomberg and finally the current mayor, Bill de Blasio. It was interesting to see how each mayor handled the diversity and needs of the city and how each responded to crises such as market crashes, police abuse of citizens, and 9-11. Overall, from my reading, the changes that worked supported Ed Glaeser’s research outlined in his research and book, “Triumph of the City: How our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier”. As Dyja documents, people in NYC were richer, healthier and happier in large part because they lived in NYC. Glaeser also would support that NYC was greener and smarter due to the high density and continuous interactions of people in NYC.

I encourage you to read the many interesting parts of this book. I took special note of the value of having a clean city with good services, shared public spaces, good education and affordable housing. Time and again, those solutions are what appeared to make NYC a better place to live and work or everyone. He also continually noted the problem of police abuse. Policing was vital to helping NYC go from a very dangerous place to being a place that was very safe to live. He suggested, as is true throughout our country, a better solution must be found to maintain a low crime rate. His recommendations for the continued re-imagination of NYC after COVID is the development of more community, backyard and roof gardens, especially in underserved areas, more community functions that facilitate interactions and healthy foods, and police reform. He also suggested more support for transit, transportation and parks to help people feel good about the city. Overall, from my reading it seems he is suggesting the continued development of a built environment that Nudges people toward selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. We need cities that help people be better versions of themselves and this book explains how that is possible.

In other words, practicing paneugenesis not only helps you, it can help a city thrive and that city can help a state, country and world improve, It is All about the Ripple… or how interactions impact others and the impact of those interactions. From reading this book, I thought of ways I can be a better citizen in my city and be more involved. If you read it and you take action in your city, please share how you have helped your city generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergsitic interactions that carry the potential to ripple out so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Updated Review of Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City

The April 12, 2021 Op-Ed for the New York Times by Edward Glaeser encouraged me to update my February 2021 post. It seems as things change, Dr. Glaeser’s prophetic work becomes even more relevant.

This article suggests his work and the current Biden agenda should include zoning as a key to enable America to be more productive, equitable and green. Interestingly, he is suggesting allowing more growth is greener and more equitable. I certainly encourage a read of his book. This article is a good complement. Enjoy and please share your thoughts.

There were several other aha moments for me throughout the book. A developed a new understanding related to poor people in cities. Dr. Glaeser explained that poor people come to the city because they see it as an opportunity to create a better life, which many are able to do. If people remain poor in a city, then work must be done by that city. If new poor people keep moving in, this can drive improvement. According to Dr. Glaeser, these are the keys to helping a city thrive: a good education system so people become more educated, a good infrastructure with good transportation, clean streets and the rule of law. If these factors are in place, it attracts people and investment. Additionally, with those precursors in place, they can generate an optimized process to yield desirable results for the city and that city can then contribute to the world. If a city wants to thrive, it is Incumbent upon that city to have a good infrastructure so all people can get a good education, be transported to jobs and are likely to meet with and interact with other people. He also documented the cities are good for immigrants and immigrants are good for cities because interactions with a diverse set of people yields even better results. This is an outcome from which we all benefit. Developing new talent through education and interactions is a good investment for the city and the world.

He also caused me to rethink taxing and how it is used. He documented that cities pay higher taxes due to higher salaries and higher productivity but then that tax money goes to less productive areas. Overall, he wasn’t complaining about being taxed just that the tax system now is anti-urban and pro suburban. He also noted a reason this happens. Congress is over represented by suburban areas. Low density states get 2 senators like high density states. He cited 5 states with just 1.2% of the population have 10% of the power in the senate and this creates an imbalance of power for a minority of the population.

Overall, he had an environmental agenda. He questioned this policy because cities are significantly less carbon intensive per person than suburban living. Suburban living generates more emissions per person than city living because suburban living generally requires more driving and bigger houses, each of which requires more energy use. An example of the subsidizing of suburban living was the mortgage tax deduction. I wonder about his thoughts now since the mortgage tax deduction has been eliminated. Another question relates to the recent publication in Scientific American, “U.S. Cities Are Underestimating Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The errors could make it more difficult for cities to meet goals for reducing their planet-warming footprint” (at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-cities-are-underestimating-their-greenhouse-gas-emissions/)

Overall, it is a good book and a thought provoking. I recommend this book. These ideas all seem to support the practice of paneugenesis because it suggests cities can help generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions with a good infrastructure from which everyone and everything will benefit.