Have you ever wondered how major international cities became the glamorous tourist destinations that they are today? This book combines mathematics and history to take readers on a journey through the fascinating stories and context behind city planning.
Today, the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto is a favorite destination for tourists from all over the world, but did it really used to be a jumbled mass of tall buildings and shop signs? Is it possible that London, which is known for its abundance of green parks and trees, was once a hotbed of pollution and disease? And was transit-oriented Taipei previously a pedestrian nightmare? Perhaps what’s most surprising is that the secret behind the transformation of these amazing global cities is something that many people find boring: mathematics!
This book introduces five cities, each with their own chapter: London, Barcelona, Paris, Kyoto, and Taipei. Each chapter starts by presenting the city as it is today and highlighting its famous landmarks, then describing the city’s history and culture. This is followed by an explanation of the reasons the government has embarked on its process of urban planning and regeneration, as well as how the designers of these cities have used interesting math to create friendly, convenient, people-oriented living environments. Analogies are also used throughout the book to explain complex numbers with simple concepts. The chapters conclude with mathematical stories and discussion questions to review and supplement the knowledge of both the city and the math covered in that section.
The authors take a thematic approach to the writing and goes into depth on the historical and cultural context behind each city, using fun, simple math to combine interdisciplinary topics and knowledge to demonstrate the creative thought that goes into city planning and design. They hope to encourage readers to explore how mathematics solves life’s problems and shapes the world around us.