In this chapter, the link between the economic power of cities and their ability to accelerate social change is explored. Urbanization often dramatically increases the mobility and propesrity of people, especially of agrarian populations. Cities can be harsh living spaces for the poor and vulnerable, however, and there are often issues of inequality and segregation, despite great diversity and rich social and cultural life. The most important social transformations of the last 250 years have been realized in urban areas, as well.
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