Friday, November 17, 2006
Imagine the city in 1850: A dense nest of people living in unsanitary conditions, in which disease, filth, and fire spread quickly. The media of late 2006 is buzzing over a new history book by Steven Johnson, “The Ghost Map,” which tells the story of the recognition in the 1850s that cholera and other diseases are spread by contagion. (Here's the review in the L.A. Times.) This discovery helped spur (in a somewhat indirect manner, of course) the land-use-segregation ideas of zoning and the dominance of risk-avoidance in much of today’s land use law.