“The city” defines an increasingly large part of the 21st-century human condition. We are living through “the human epoch”: the Anthropocene. So far as we can tell, over half of the human population already resides in cities — striving, producing, and innovating. The creation unlocked by urban living is dazzling. Imagine how much you could make in a single day of self-sufficiency. Multiply that by every working day in a life. Now look around you. What fraction of what you can see could any one person make in a lifetime?
Our time is the Anthropocene and, more and more, our place is the Astysphere – the urban space, possibly most easily visualised from space at night. It is like having tens of thousands of glittering Hollywood A-listers astride the planet, tens of thousands of Clark Gables, say. According to many of his co-stars, and to his legions of fans, Clark Gable was the most attractive man who ever lived. But by some — doubtless apocryphal — accounts, Gable had very bad breath, which dulls some of the glamour of the famous Rhett-Scarlett kiss from Gone With The Wind.