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Science is secretly at work behind the scenes of major cities of the world and will continue to be so. Technological advances in fields as diverse as quantum mechanics, electronics, and nanotechnology are proving increasingly important to city life, and the urban world will turn to science to deliver solutions to the problems of the future; more than 50 percent of the worl Science is secretly at work behind the scenes of major cities of the world and will continue to be so. Technological advances in fields as diverse as quantum mechanics, electronics, and nanotechnology are proving increasingly important to city life, and the urban world will turn to science to deliver solutions to the problems of the future; more than 50 percent of the world's population now lives in cities, and that proportion is growing fast. Can engineering provide the answer to a viable megacity future? SCIENCE AND THE CITY starts at your front door and guides you through the technology of everyday city life: how new approaches to building materials help to construct the tallest skyscrapers in Dubai, how New Yorkers use light to treat their drinking water, how Tokyo commuters' footsteps power gates in train stations. Uncovering the science and engineering that shapes our cities, Laurie Winkless reveals how technology will help us meet the challenges of a soaring world population--from an ever-increasing demand for power, water, and internet access, to simply how to get about in a megacity of tens of millions of people. Laurie Winkless is a physicist with an undergraduate degree from Trinity College, Dublin, and a master's degree in space science from University College London. She has worked at the National Physical Laboratory, specializing in functional materials and is an expert on thermoelectric energy harvesting, which involves using material science to capture and convert waste heat into electricity. This is her first book, written while living in her favorite city, London.


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Science is secretly at work behind the scenes of major cities of the world and will continue to be so. Technological advances in fields as diverse as quantum mechanics, electronics, and nanotechnology are proving increasingly important to city life, and the urban world will turn to science to deliver solutions to the problems of the future; more than 50 percent of the worl Science is secretly at work behind the scenes of major cities of the world and will continue to be so. Technological advances in fields as diverse as quantum mechanics, electronics, and nanotechnology are proving increasingly important to city life, and the urban world will turn to science to deliver solutions to the problems of the future; more than 50 percent of the world's population now lives in cities, and that proportion is growing fast. Can engineering provide the answer to a viable megacity future? SCIENCE AND THE CITY starts at your front door and guides you through the technology of everyday city life: how new approaches to building materials help to construct the tallest skyscrapers in Dubai, how New Yorkers use light to treat their drinking water, how Tokyo commuters' footsteps power gates in train stations. Uncovering the science and engineering that shapes our cities, Laurie Winkless reveals how technology will help us meet the challenges of a soaring world population--from an ever-increasing demand for power, water, and internet access, to simply how to get about in a megacity of tens of millions of people. Laurie Winkless is a physicist with an undergraduate degree from Trinity College, Dublin, and a master's degree in space science from University College London. She has worked at the National Physical Laboratory, specializing in functional materials and is an expert on thermoelectric energy harvesting, which involves using material science to capture and convert waste heat into electricity. This is her first book, written while living in her favorite city, London.

30 review for Science and the City: The Mechanics Behind the Metropolis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Austin

    I really expected to like this book, and learn a lot from it. These are two of my absolute favorite topics in the whole wide world - science, and cities. I did like the style for the most part, and the structure was good enough. But overall, I'm very disappointed. The main problem I have are the truly troubling inaccuracies. When I read science-related books (or any media where I know something about the topic) I rate my confidence on the new-to-me topics by how the book covers the topics I do kn I really expected to like this book, and learn a lot from it. These are two of my absolute favorite topics in the whole wide world - science, and cities. I did like the style for the most part, and the structure was good enough. But overall, I'm very disappointed. The main problem I have are the truly troubling inaccuracies. When I read science-related books (or any media where I know something about the topic) I rate my confidence on the new-to-me topics by how the book covers the topics I do know. Finding a half-dozen full-on errors therefore pretty much ruins a book for me. These are statements in this book that I (a fellow lapsed scientist) or any number of experts could have caught and fixed, so it just seems sloppy. But I wouldn't say this without being specific. Here is the litany of errors (that I spotted): Talking about pollutants, the book states, " ... carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (greenhouse gases". Neither of these are greenhouse gases. They both lead to smog... and are pollutants. But missing the basic facts is not ok. These chemicals are GHGs: CO2. CH4. N20. Various hexaflourides and other weird things. Water if you are being technical. CO and VOCs are just not. "now, let's take a gulp of water from the tap - it is a pretty similar composition to the water inside our cells, so any movement of molecules through the membrane pretty much balances out." This is so false it made my cells want to burst. By which I mean, if you put normal animal cells in drinking water they BURST. That is because distilled water or drinking water has basically no dissolved solids, or is near 0 mOsm (milliosmolar, a measure of total dissolved solides). cytoplasm, or cell guts, osmolarity is about 270 mOsm. Seawater is something like 1000 mOsm/l. This means that if you put a cell in seawater it will indeed lose water and shriver - so yes. you can't drink seawater. But to call tap water similar to cytoplasm is just wrong, wrong, wrong. On vehicle automation "if a human driver approaches a junction with damaged signals, they can edge forward cautiously. A computer-driven car cannot be programmed to do this (yet, anyway)." Um. Yes, that is pretty easy in the hierarchy of challenges. Computer vision can see a red, yellow, green, or out light. If its own, edge forward cautiously. Done. Several cars do this already. "we are all made of carbon [true]. When we die, CO2 is trapped in our remains [false]." Nope. Carbon is, but not CO2 - that's a gas and we are made of a wide variety of carbon compounds, none of which are are CO2. That is the end product when we are digested by critters. But CO2 is not "trapped" within us as if we are a fizzy beverage. "all brazilian cars are biofueled to some extent [true], with the most common blend being E85 (85 per cent ethanol)" [false]. I knew this wasn't right because I've been there - gasoline there is 27% ethanol minimum, but if you get higher blends it's E100 (or "neat"). Googling "Brazil E85" to confirm that I'm not crazy shows this pretty easily. Here's a picture. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alterna... Several times, the author ignores a fundamental and important truth about thermodynamics. This is exemplative "in a traditional car engine, almost two-thirds of the chemical energy in diesel or petrol is completely lost, mostly in the form of heat energy." This is true, but an innocent reader would tend to think "wow, we should just not lose it all to heat!". But much of this is a fact of life - the second law of thermodynamics requires that heat engines lose a lot of their energy. The author does reference thermo limits, but only once - in regard to thermoelectric, the author's specific field of study. Those limits in cars and power plants have very significant implications for technology and leaving them out in those discussions is not awesome. "Yet, there is no doubt that environmentally, it would be much better to source the things we eat and drink locally. Moving food vast distances in fossil-fueled container ships, planes, trains and trucks is more than a little wasteful." This seems logical but doesn't stand up to the data. There is actually great evidence that environmentally, food from halfway across the world is pretty good. Compare a tomato produced in the north american winter in a greenhouse versus one that was shipped in from warm weather climes, and there's no contest. It may seem counterintuitive, but the energy used to move the food is almost completely trivial compared to the rest. There are lots of reasons to like local food - but environmentalism is probably not one of them. conversely, the book asks "If we all became vegetarian, wouldn't that benefit everyone?" but then hems and haws about how we're not sure because cows can be sources of milk and fertilizer... yes, so not producing mass-market beef cattle would be better. Here again the literature is clear. High levels of meat consumption are harmful from an environmental perspective. Ok, I probably seem pedantic, but I'm not trying to be a jerk here. I just think if you write a book with science in the title, a casual reader shouldn't find a half dozen pretty significant science or factual errors in it. Otherwise, the book is fine but didn't wow me. The Transport section is extremely road-centric, and the book just wasn't really about cities - it wandered too far into other topics and never really seemed to grasp the miracle of interconnectiviity that is the modern city. I learned a bit about tunnels and a few other things, but I can't help hoping that someone will go do this topic justice. --------------------------- 52 books in 52 weeks update: book number: 19 / 52 scorecard (see below): W: 10/26 NW: 7/26 NA: 8/20 D: 1/5 F: 8 NF: 10 ------- Notes: I'm trying to read 52 books this year. To make sure I'm getting a broad range, I'm tracking some metrics. Open to more if folks have suggestions. My goal is to read books that are: at least half by women at least half not by white people at least 20 by non-americans at least 5 that I don't think I'll like or agree with going in I'll also go for about half fiction and half non-fiction

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Here’s another example of the Problem With Reader Not Book situation. My uncle recommended 'Science and the City' to me enthusiastically and in theory I can see why. The trouble is, its topic substantially overlaps with the academic research I’ve been doing for the last six years and therefore the casual tone really grates on me. To be honest, I think it would even covering a much less familiar area, simply because I’m used to much less informal non-fiction. Winkless is evidently making her book Here’s another example of the Problem With Reader Not Book situation. My uncle recommended 'Science and the City' to me enthusiastically and in theory I can see why. The trouble is, its topic substantially overlaps with the academic research I’ve been doing for the last six years and therefore the casual tone really grates on me. To be honest, I think it would even covering a much less familiar area, simply because I’m used to much less informal non-fiction. Winkless is evidently making her book accessible as widely as possible, paradoxically reducing its appeal in my case. All of my academic training rebels against this sort of interjection: ‘I am totally cheering them on this!’ Or this: ‘Please note that while I promise to try to avoid going full tunnel-nerd on you, I may not manage it…’ Or, ‘Maybe you think you already know, but I’m here to tell you, you’re probably wrong’. Essentially, the writing style is not to my taste as I don’t like non-fiction trying to chat me up. Moreover, there’s a disciplinary gap. Winkless has a physics background, so she concentrates disproportionately on the technical aspects of city life over sociopolitical and behavioural factors. That’s fine, and I definitely learned things, however as a social scientist I found it a very partial analysis of future urban developments. There isn't even a discussion of the profit-motivated dynamics of technological adoption! Many areas are considered in a shallow descriptive fashion which, again, is intended to be accessible and thus doesn’t suit someone used to more analytical depth. It’s also weirdly spatially nonspecific, lumping all cities across the world together. Nonetheless, I persisted as ‘Science and the City’ (which made me cringe when I realised it was a Sex and the City reference) is easy to read and contains some intriguing information that I didn’t know. Notably, about the engineering behind skyscrapers and bridges. When it came to autonomous vehicles, though, I kept thinking, “But what about the issues in that report I read a few months back, such as how they could be programmed to obey gestural commands from emergency service personnel?” etc. Basically, I don’t think I’m the intended audience here. While a lot of the material was of interest to me, I didn’t really like the way it was selected and presented. If you want a technologically utopian guide to the physical mechanics of 21st century cities in the developed world written in a casual style, though, it could be just the book for you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Zsófia

    I couldn't finish this book – it got on my nerves and I gave up halfway through. The subject is fascinating, the structure is great, just like the level of detail... but I found the style of the writing insufferable. While I appreciate being explained complex topics in laymen's terms, reading this book I felt like I'm treated as an 8-year-old. The writing is "girly", full of needless chatter and clutter and remarks intended funny. I feel like the target audience for the book wasn't properly iden I couldn't finish this book – it got on my nerves and I gave up halfway through. The subject is fascinating, the structure is great, just like the level of detail... but I found the style of the writing insufferable. While I appreciate being explained complex topics in laymen's terms, reading this book I felt like I'm treated as an 8-year-old. The writing is "girly", full of needless chatter and clutter and remarks intended funny. I feel like the target audience for the book wasn't properly identified – or maybe I'm not part of it. Either way, I'm surprised the editors at Bloomsbury didn't pick up on this. Some people might be okay with the writing, maybe even like it. I simply couldn't stand it. I had high hopes for this book and got so excited when I ordered it. The thing I did liked about this book is how it made me "hyperread" – on every page there were two-three things to Google and it led me to countless Wikipedia articles and Wiki How-Tos I otherwise wouldn't have read. If only the style of writing style was more serious.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Smadar

    Science and the City was the perfect non-fiction read for me. I usually avoid non-fiction like the plague because most of the time, even if the topic is something I'm interested in, the books are dry and forcing my way through them is a chore. This book, on the other hand! I laughed out loud at least once per chapter. Laurie Winkless won me over as a lifelong fan the moment she referenced Dara O'Briain (one of my favorite comedians, hands down) but more than that, she included so much of her own Science and the City was the perfect non-fiction read for me. I usually avoid non-fiction like the plague because most of the time, even if the topic is something I'm interested in, the books are dry and forcing my way through them is a chore. This book, on the other hand! I laughed out loud at least once per chapter. Laurie Winkless won me over as a lifelong fan the moment she referenced Dara O'Briain (one of my favorite comedians, hands down) but more than that, she included so much of her own humor and love of the subject matter that I couldn't help but be drawn in. I come from an advanced science educational background so the level of explanation was also important to my reading of SATC (as the author herself calls it). The explanations of phenomena I already understand--to a much more detailed degree than the book delved into--were not so simplified or riddled in metaphor that it annoyed me to read them. And the explanations of things my background has not familiarized me with were equally enlightening and exciting so that I did not lose interest merely from lack of knowledge. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who has even a passing interest in engineering, environmentalism, or even just a desire to understand the city they live in!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emil Massad

    This book (Science and the City by Laurie Winkless) delves into all of the science behind every one of our daily lives. Every single thing you take for granted in the city has lots of science behind it, and studies that will make them better for the city of tomorrow. In fact, in every chapter, there is one section about the cities of the future when it comes to the things that the chapter was talking about. It even has little factoids that you never even thought would exist! Like, did you know t This book (Science and the City by Laurie Winkless) delves into all of the science behind every one of our daily lives. Every single thing you take for granted in the city has lots of science behind it, and studies that will make them better for the city of tomorrow. In fact, in every chapter, there is one section about the cities of the future when it comes to the things that the chapter was talking about. It even has little factoids that you never even thought would exist! Like, did you know that a traffic jam has its own scientific word and category of science (jamiton and jamology, respectively)? Me neither! That is what is so great about this book- no vampires, no kids that think they’re fathers are Poseidon, nothing of that sort- just straight up science about things you probably never really thought could be improved but are now excited about- like concrete. ! And there’s another- oh. No spoilers. But this book goes through everything from wastewater to how elevators work! So, if you have ever, ever asked “does the button you press to cross the street even do anything?” (hint, it does.), then this is the book for you, and trust me you will be so happy you read it, it’s great.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I'm officially quitting. I liked the topic, but unfortunately the tone of the book is a little too bubbly combined with the amount of information being simultaneously too much and too little. There is a general overview of so many disparate topics it doesn't come together cohesively or in depth enough to really understand things. I appreciate the authors enthusiasm for the topic but I needed it tempered down a bit. I'm officially quitting. I liked the topic, but unfortunately the tone of the book is a little too bubbly combined with the amount of information being simultaneously too much and too little. There is a general overview of so many disparate topics it doesn't come together cohesively or in depth enough to really understand things. I appreciate the authors enthusiasm for the topic but I needed it tempered down a bit.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dro Sohrabian

    Sometimes overexplains to tedium. I understand the concept behind why going up a slope is more difficult for a train or anything. I get this is a science book for public but a little too soft for me. Author obsessed with puns and the dorkiness of puns and whether the puns are intended or not. On the other hand, it covers some interesting upcoming tech and I'm glad I read it. It was easy to digest. Sometimes overexplains to tedium. I understand the concept behind why going up a slope is more difficult for a train or anything. I get this is a science book for public but a little too soft for me. Author obsessed with puns and the dorkiness of puns and whether the puns are intended or not. On the other hand, it covers some interesting upcoming tech and I'm glad I read it. It was easy to digest.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Whenever I'm walking around a city, I find myself wondering how the subway was built, how skyscapers are so tall, etc. This book helped answer a lot of those questions, and ones that I hadn't even thought about previously. My favorite thing about the book, however, was finishing feeling inspired about all the possibilities that materials engineering and creative scientists are already opening up for the future of cities. I'm giving three stars instead of four mostly just because some sections dr Whenever I'm walking around a city, I find myself wondering how the subway was built, how skyscapers are so tall, etc. This book helped answer a lot of those questions, and ones that I hadn't even thought about previously. My favorite thing about the book, however, was finishing feeling inspired about all the possibilities that materials engineering and creative scientists are already opening up for the future of cities. I'm giving three stars instead of four mostly just because some sections dragged a bit for me--I ended up skipping some sections that I just wasn't that enthralled by (ex. I find the future of trains way more interesting than the future of cars). Three random facts I enjoyed learning about: 1. One of the biggest challenges for skyscrapers is managing the forces caused by high winds at great heights. Some buildings have counter-balance systems that push the building in the opposite direction of the wind for a net effect of no motion. 2. There is work in progress to harness the energy that pedestrian footsteps make on city sidewalks and convert it into electricity that can feed back into the grid. It's early, with lots of caveats, but a cool concept for recapturing energy that is currently lost. 3. The reason subways aren't built in a straight line, but instead have inclines approaching a station and declines exiting them, is to help naturally slow down and speed up the trains using gravity. This puts less stress on the braking systems/requires less energy to get a stopped train moving again. Again, really enjoyed learning about the clever innovations that are making cities better. Just wish that maybe the editing had been a bit tighter. Also, for what it's worth, I think the content could be converted into some great podcasts to similar effect.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gary Nicholl

    So informative and inspiration Al to a future Landscape Architect/ Urban designer like me. While it doesn't delve deep into any one topic it instead acts as a great overveiw, with lots of further reading recommendations. Highly recommended for anyone who loves and is fascinated by the city So informative and inspiration Al to a future Landscape Architect/ Urban designer like me. While it doesn't delve deep into any one topic it instead acts as a great overveiw, with lots of further reading recommendations. Highly recommended for anyone who loves and is fascinated by the city

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Leyba

    A fun read by an author who is passionate about the city!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jan Carbonell

    The book that “nerd” me always wanted. Breaks down how everything works in a functioning city, from water to electricity, skyscrappers, subway and many more. Also offers an outlook into the future on how things could be. Perfect mix between narrative and interesting facts and knowledge. Futuristic stuff could be a bit better researched but still, it delivers according to the expectations. For example, I have low expectations for Hydrogen cars and it was missing some relevant facts on the analysi The book that “nerd” me always wanted. Breaks down how everything works in a functioning city, from water to electricity, skyscrappers, subway and many more. Also offers an outlook into the future on how things could be. Perfect mix between narrative and interesting facts and knowledge. Futuristic stuff could be a bit better researched but still, it delivers according to the expectations. For example, I have low expectations for Hydrogen cars and it was missing some relevant facts on the analysis like its volatility on leaks. This may also be due to the fact that the author was previously working in this field. Nevertheless, a recommended lecture! 💧⚡️🚇

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carol Wakefield

    Picked the book from the library shelf of new books thinking to glance over it. Read every word and slowly because of breaks to visit Wikipedia for aditional information. How Ms Winkless made a great deal of technical information totally intriguing? A great many "asides" and a talent for translation of science speak to everyday language. And maybe a personality that wants her readers to like her and her book. She appears to like her readers. Thanks , Laurie. Picked the book from the library shelf of new books thinking to glance over it. Read every word and slowly because of breaks to visit Wikipedia for aditional information. How Ms Winkless made a great deal of technical information totally intriguing? A great many "asides" and a talent for translation of science speak to everyday language. And maybe a personality that wants her readers to like her and her book. She appears to like her readers. Thanks , Laurie.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ricky

    Superb..!! For me, This book is like a storybook that explained literally "Everything" in our daily life scientifically. I like how the author narrate the story. It just like you can absorb all of those highly advanced science and engineering stuffs without any difficulties. Superb..!! For me, This book is like a storybook that explained literally "Everything" in our daily life scientifically. I like how the author narrate the story. It just like you can absorb all of those highly advanced science and engineering stuffs without any difficulties.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This book is trying to do a LOT in just 260 pages. As a result, it jumps all over the place and spends too little time on far too many topics. The second to last chapter is a bizarre mish-mash that should probably come with the header "all the random things I learned during researching that I got to attached to and wouldn't let my editor cut," and skips around from urban farming (ok) to rocket escape velocities (huh?) to cryptocurrency (I'm sorry, this is a book about the physics of cities, righ This book is trying to do a LOT in just 260 pages. As a result, it jumps all over the place and spends too little time on far too many topics. The second to last chapter is a bizarre mish-mash that should probably come with the header "all the random things I learned during researching that I got to attached to and wouldn't let my editor cut," and skips around from urban farming (ok) to rocket escape velocities (huh?) to cryptocurrency (I'm sorry, this is a book about the physics of cities, right?). That being said, for as many times as I found my mind wandering while reading this, I also learned some cool facts (or "factoids" as the author insists on calling them, ugh) -- did you know they make giant glass windows by pouring liquid glass into liquid tin, and letting the glass float to the surface and harden? I didn't. That's awesome. The author also tries to imagine what the near future of all this infrastructure will look like. When she did it at the end of each chapter, it was not successful -- her predictions were vague and didn't go beyond what most people know already (driverless cars, got it). But then I got to the very last chapter, where she spends "a day in the life" in the near future, using recognizable tech of today stretched to its perfectly imaginable tomorrow, and it was excellent. It was a future of our daily lives you could absolutely see happening, and it really tied everything she was trying to write about together. But there's also a trend in science writing these days to compose your descriptions in fourth-wall-breaking whimsical titterings, full of cheesy jokes and puns (followed immediately by a parenthetical that points out the joke/pun with self-congratulatory glee)*. I'm not into it, but I know that's a personal preference. *Or a pointless footnote on every other page just to tell a personal anecdote or a word the author really likes. I stopped reading them about halfway through.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I never give 5 stars - that word 'amazing' is not something I use lightly. But for writing style alone - that is, the 'translation' of all the STEM into intelligent, engaging, personable narrative - Winkless earned all 5, hands down. Even just her overall organizing structure, the streamlining of the magnificent, overwhelming tangle of a city into discrete, logical, familiar chunks (skyscrapers, bridges, etc.) was a feat worth reading. The clever title chapters - one word each: Up, Switch, Drive I never give 5 stars - that word 'amazing' is not something I use lightly. But for writing style alone - that is, the 'translation' of all the STEM into intelligent, engaging, personable narrative - Winkless earned all 5, hands down. Even just her overall organizing structure, the streamlining of the magnificent, overwhelming tangle of a city into discrete, logical, familiar chunks (skyscrapers, bridges, etc.) was a feat worth reading. The clever title chapters - one word each: Up, Switch, Drive, Connect, etc. - conveyed the core concept as well as underscoring this book would be concise and approachable. Throughout, she was not shy about sharing her uber-nerdiness, another big plus. Her interactions (interviews, synopses) with experts were spot-on & seamless. I could've used a bit less of the very frequent interjection, 'well, but we'll get to more on that in a minute,' a distraction that seemed to be her version of a speaker's 'um' (as opposed to a necessary clarifying phrase). The logical extension of current science/research into what could likely happen with sustainable/safe/super-cool city features in the near and not-so-near future added a fun, 'oh, I hope so' layer. Also, these passages (and the final section) served as a sort of formative assessment for the reader (Did I get all the earlier points? Does this application make sense?). This should be required reading for students - anyone ~8th grade & up would gain from it (for both the STEM and the clarity of writing).

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Shelton

    This was a really good book. Each chapter takes a part of the infrastructure of the city and describes how it works. The beginning of each chapter starts with the basics and towards the end the author gets into some of the newest technological innovations taking place in the field. The real value of the book is that the author takes concepts which are useful to know, but typically thought of as boring (like pipes) and makes them exciting. She succeeds at this because she doesn't get too caught u This was a really good book. Each chapter takes a part of the infrastructure of the city and describes how it works. The beginning of each chapter starts with the basics and towards the end the author gets into some of the newest technological innovations taking place in the field. The real value of the book is that the author takes concepts which are useful to know, but typically thought of as boring (like pipes) and makes them exciting. She succeeds at this because she doesn't get too caught up in the details and she clearly loves her topic and learning in general. As a civil engineer I really enjoyed this book because it reminded me of the big picture of the city and how all the pieces fit together. Some of the chapters I know a lot about and some not at all, but it gave me a new appreciation for all of the work that is done to make cities work that typically goes unnoticed. The weakness of the book is the flip side of its strength - because she doesn't go into excessive detail, there are some explanations that seem inadequate, and some places where she might be slightly inaccurate in her descriptions. I noticed this more in the chapters that I have more knowledge in. But even so, it is worth the trade off because it keeps the book lighter and more fun. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in cities and wants to gain a deeper understanding into how they work.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elentarri

    Science and the City is a rather superficial, but interesting look at how cities function. Topics covered include the physics and materials required for building skyscrapers; the generation and transmission of electricity; water purification and transport; sewage systems; roads; bridges; trains and train tracks; cars; and the various means that humans connect to each other (internet, satellites, food distribution, finances, time). A rather useful aspect of the book was the division of each chapt Science and the City is a rather superficial, but interesting look at how cities function. Topics covered include the physics and materials required for building skyscrapers; the generation and transmission of electricity; water purification and transport; sewage systems; roads; bridges; trains and train tracks; cars; and the various means that humans connect to each other (internet, satellites, food distribution, finances, time). A rather useful aspect of the book was the division of each chapter into a "today" section and a "tomorrow" section. The "today" section covering how cities function currently, and the "tomorrow" section covering new research and future technologies. So there are a fair amount of interesting future "goodies" to look up and research further. The author's enthusiasm and bubbliness make this book an entertaining and informative reading experience provided you aren't expecting too many technical details and don't mind an informal writing style. Thankfully there is no running fashion commentary or excessive interviews!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    Reviewed for The Bibliophibian. I expected to enjoy this a lot — I typically do like the Bloomsbury Sigma books, even if they tend to take on quite a chatty tone. But this one just felt boring: partly that was because I wasn’t learning anything, because everything seemed obvious, and partly because I wasn’t interested in the flippant remarks, etc. It felt like it was pitched to someone who knows less about this sort of thing than I do, but also someone who is rather more interested in the ins and Reviewed for The Bibliophibian. I expected to enjoy this a lot — I typically do like the Bloomsbury Sigma books, even if they tend to take on quite a chatty tone. But this one just felt boring: partly that was because I wasn’t learning anything, because everything seemed obvious, and partly because I wasn’t interested in the flippant remarks, etc. It felt like it was pitched to someone who knows less about this sort of thing than I do, but also someone who is rather more interested in the ins and outs of the science applied to the city, if that makes sense. Whatever, in the end it didn’t work for me and I was, in fact, deadly bored.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    If you're interested in the built environment (perhaps you're a fan of 99% Invisible) then this is the book for you. The author manages to present the almost impossibly wide topic in a clear and engaging way. Written as an ode to the modern city, the author injects her infectious enthusiasm and humour into the pages to make a potentially dry subject really engaging. The balance between basic science, current technology and future predictions is just right; not too basic for those with a science b If you're interested in the built environment (perhaps you're a fan of 99% Invisible) then this is the book for you. The author manages to present the almost impossibly wide topic in a clear and engaging way. Written as an ode to the modern city, the author injects her infectious enthusiasm and humour into the pages to make a potentially dry subject really engaging. The balance between basic science, current technology and future predictions is just right; not too basic for those with a science background but also unlikely to lose the casual reader. Given how important cities are to our modern world, this is a must read non-fiction book. Disclosure: I previously worked with the author and was interviewed for this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I am trying to broaden my horizons on the reading front, and as a non-scientifically minded person I was unsure if this book would successfully grab my attention & teach me new things that I’d properly understand. It turned out this was an ideal book to lure me into the world of science and how it shapes everyday life. Laurie Winkless had a wonderful tone and writing style which is inviting, but at the same time there is depth to her explanations. The outcome is that I did manage to learn in a w I am trying to broaden my horizons on the reading front, and as a non-scientifically minded person I was unsure if this book would successfully grab my attention & teach me new things that I’d properly understand. It turned out this was an ideal book to lure me into the world of science and how it shapes everyday life. Laurie Winkless had a wonderful tone and writing style which is inviting, but at the same time there is depth to her explanations. The outcome is that I did manage to learn in a way that felt accessible and interesting, but I also think it wouldn’t feel too simplified for a more scientifically knowledgeable reader. This was a great step into a new realm for me and I’ll be waiting for her next book which I see is on the horizon.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Harika

    Reading this book is like reading years and years of research weaved into a great story. Science & the city is a "Knowledge Power House" It carefully and meticulously reveals the DNA of our current and future cities. Lots of good detailing included, yet the book demands some patience and perseverance from the reader, which of course pays well at the end. A true engineering marvel, this literature has been wonderfully compiled and narrated by Laurie Winkless! Reading this book is like reading years and years of research weaved into a great story. Science & the city is a "Knowledge Power House" It carefully and meticulously reveals the DNA of our current and future cities. Lots of good detailing included, yet the book demands some patience and perseverance from the reader, which of course pays well at the end. A true engineering marvel, this literature has been wonderfully compiled and narrated by Laurie Winkless!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ema

    I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. Urban sprawl and it's development isn't thought about enough despite how influential it is for every part of life, plus it was inspiring to know that the future shouldn't be as bad as the present is climate change wise with some of the tech that should be coming in the near future. Solar panel windows, wifi charging light posts, trains that feed electricty back into their system with their brakes, all stuff that cannot come soon enough. I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. Urban sprawl and it's development isn't thought about enough despite how influential it is for every part of life, plus it was inspiring to know that the future shouldn't be as bad as the present is climate change wise with some of the tech that should be coming in the near future. Solar panel windows, wifi charging light posts, trains that feed electricty back into their system with their brakes, all stuff that cannot come soon enough.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Airi

    I loved reading this book even though it took me eight months of picking it up and putting it down! It is a really eye opening book for someone like me who doesn’t usually seek out science-related non-fiction books. It made me wish I paid more attention in science class back in school but I also know that with generous souls like Winkles who makes reading about science both approachable and entertaining, it’s never too late!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sesana

    Some really interesting bits of information in here, and the presentation is easily readable. Not every aspect was equally fascinating to me, though, and I expect that's a problem that most readers will have. I don't think that potential driverless cars are nearly as interesting as the actual engineering brilliance that has created the world's tallest buildings, but others will find the engineering boring and want more future speculation. Some really interesting bits of information in here, and the presentation is easily readable. Not every aspect was equally fascinating to me, though, and I expect that's a problem that most readers will have. I don't think that potential driverless cars are nearly as interesting as the actual engineering brilliance that has created the world's tallest buildings, but others will find the engineering boring and want more future speculation.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Surprisingly not to science-y which I appreciated. It did make me want to buy solar panels and really go green. The book was encouraging by showing all the environmentally friendly technology that is already out there or close to being available.

  26. 4 out of 5

    John

    A bird's-eye view of how infrastructure, architecture, agriculture, and transportation may be transformed with developing technologies. The book is written like a glib selection of blog posts. Not my favorite arrangement. A bird's-eye view of how infrastructure, architecture, agriculture, and transportation may be transformed with developing technologies. The book is written like a glib selection of blog posts. Not my favorite arrangement.

  27. 4 out of 5

    puneit singh

    Very interesting book to read. While I enjoyed every fact presented, I am hungry for more fun facts now. The future isn’t so bleak as many point out it to be. We humans will adapt and a lot of people are working towards making that happen. It’s just matter of time now.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jared Ostyn

    Interesting factoids, but kind of glosses over the human aspects. Maybe out of scope for the title, but I wanted some social science components and didn't find much. The engineering science was great and I learned a lot though Interesting factoids, but kind of glosses over the human aspects. Maybe out of scope for the title, but I wanted some social science components and didn't find much. The engineering science was great and I learned a lot though

  29. 5 out of 5

    James Ford

    Alot of information, the author seems nice. Probably could have gotten most of this info from a few youtube videos (ironically, given chapter 7) and would rather have spent my time on a different book. That said, not bad and a nice easy read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    I found this a great read. It satisfied my nerdy yet unknowing mind on a number of subjects and also updated my knowledge on what I already knew. I sometimes found the emboldened words frustrating but still really enjoyed the read.

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