First, I would like to thank the Pekin Public Library, for providing me with access to a wealth of knowledge. I have been able to find a lot in their archives to keep my learning curiosity peaked.
For those seriously looking deeper into community and economic development, The City by Joel Kotkin is a worthy read. It is a very clear and concise history of cities as a whole. It’s safe to say that if we dare to try to improve our communities we need a lesson in past history.
In his book, Mr. Kotkin pulls from a vast array of sources lending credibility to the 5,000 year timeline he is covering. In my opinion, reading what other people have to say about their current setting and their most recent past in their respective historical periods is very fascinating. I won’t go so far as to say that they predict the future, but you can certainly see that someone was aware of consequences of particular actions while they were occurring.
At this point in my life I think I can grasp the concept of history a little more clearly then when I was in middle school learning about Mesopotamia and the Medieval Ages. Not to say that it shouldn’t be taught to children, but much more can be learned and gained when you have more than 12 years of your own timeline to identify with.
The history of cities is the ultimate cliché. “History repeats itself” – and it will continue doing so into the future. Finding balance and Utopia will always be a challenge as people and places are always at different stages in their own developments. We have to embrace what we do know and find peace with that. From our lessons in history and past actions we must make sound, rational decisions to leave things better for the next generations who inherit it.
To quote the last sentence of the last chapter:
It is in the city, this ancient confluence of the sacred, safe, and busy, where humanity’s future will be shaped for centuries to come.