Losing time, losing space

By Sam Smith

From the Progressive Review, April 2001

URBAN sociologist Claude S. Fisher writes that "our species has lived in permanent settlements of any kind for only the last two percent of its history." As late as the 1850s, just two percent of the world's population lived in cities of more than 100,000, by 1900 only about ten percent. By the end of the last century, however, about half the world's humans lived in cities. In America, fewer than a quarter of us occupy a physical environment that is not primarily manufactured - which is to say, a place in which time and space are not mainly defined by other humans rather than by nature....

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