It’s official – London is the most powerful city on the planet. According to this year’s Global Power Index, there’s no better place to work or live when you weigh up our economy and culture.
What impact do global cities have on people´s everyday lives?
On Friday 5 December 1952, a thick yellow smog brought the capital to a standstill for four days and is estimated to have killed more than 4,000 people. London’s air may appear much cleaner today, but is still dangerously polluted. The coal pollution that caused the infamous ‘pea soupers’ has been replaced by invisible pollution – mainly from traffic fumes – resulting in 13,000 early deaths each year in the UK and 4,300 in London
London. (….) Implacable November weather, (…) Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes – gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun (…) Foot passengers, jostling one another´s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and loosing their foot.hold at streets corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke) …
Charles Dickens, Bleak House, Chapter 2, 1852
It was a foggy day in London, and the fog was heavy and dark. Animate London, with smarting eyes and irritated lungs, was blinking, whezzing, and choking; inanimate London was a sooty spectre, divided in purpose between being visible and invisible, and so being wholly neither (..) Even in the surrounding country it was a foggy day, but there the fog was grey, whereas in London it was, at about the boundary line, dark yellow, and a little within brown, and then browner, and then browner, until at the heart of the city – which call Saint Mary Axe – it was rusy-black.
Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friends, 1865.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870), is considered to be one of the greatest writers of the 19th century: He lived in London. The rapidly growing industrial environment of the time served as a bachground to most of his novels : Little Dorrit, David Copperfield, The Adevntures of Oliver Twist. He is famous for his realistic depiction of the poverty and pollution that were generated by the industrial revolution.
The growth of global cities have brought a wealth of culture, linguistic and ethnic diversity, helping to enrich everyday life and open new possibilities of exchange. However, the needs of such dense population have led to serious problems in terms of environment. From the slums and fog of Victorian London to the Great Smog of 1952 and the current issue of traffic pollution, global cities struggle to find solutions to reduce their carbon footprint and improve urban living conditions.
Will global cities find a way to create sustainable environment in the future?