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Age of the City: Why Our Future Will Be Won or Lost Together

By Ian Goldin and Tom Lee-Devlin

Ian Goldin is a global expert in international development. Goldin is a two-time Bellagio resident, focusing his projects in 2017 and 2022 on technology’s impact on development and migration. Formerly a World Bank Vice President, and adviser to President Nelson Mandela, he is the author of 23 books. Goldin is currently the Oxford University Professor of Globalization and Development and founding Director of the Oxford Martin School, the world’s leading center for interdisciplinary research into critical global challenges.

A few words with Ian:

“When I arrived at the Bellagio Center, my work was in the formative period. Bellagio allowed me to focus on my writing.”

A Quote from Age of the City

“Cities, with their unbounded creative potential, provide a source of hope for the future. By working together to improve them, we can create a better life for all.”


Oxford professor Ian Goldin and The Economist’s Tom Lee-Devlin show why the city is where the battles of inequality, social division, pandemics and climate change must be faced.

From centers of antiquity like Athens or Rome to modern metropolises like New York or Shanghai, cities throughout history have been the engines of human progress and the epicenters of our greatest achievements. Now, for the first time, more than half of humanity lives in cities, a share that continues to rise. In the developing world, cities are growing at a rate never seen before.

In this book, Professor Goldin and Tom Lee-Devlin show why making our societies fairer, more cohesive and sustainable must start with our cities. Globalization and technological change have concentrated wealth into a small number of booming metropolises, leaving many smaller cities and towns behind and feeding populist resentment. Yet even within seemingly thriving cities like London or San Francisco, the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to widen and our retreat into online worlds tears away at our social fabric. Meanwhile, pandemics and climate change pose existential threats to our increasingly urban world.

Professor Goldin and Tom Lee-Devlin combine the lessons of history with a deep understanding of the challenges confronting our world today to show why cities are at a crossroads – and hold our destinies in the balance.

Explore More

Learn more about Ian by visiting his website and discovering his other published works.