The Neighborhood Project

Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time
By David Sloan Wilson (Hardcover Book, 2011)
After decades studying creatures great and small, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson had an epiphany: Darwin's theory won't fully prove itself until it improves the quality of human life in a practical sense. And what better place to begin than his hometown of Binghamton, New York? Making a difference in his own city would provide a model for cities everywhere, which have become the habitat for over half of the people on earth.

Inspired to become an agent of change, Wilson descended on Binghamton with a scientist's eye and looked at its toughest questions, such as how to empower neighborhoods and how best to teach our children. He combined the latest research methods from experimental economics with studies of holiday decorations and garage sales. Drawing upon examples from nature as diverse as water striders, wasps, and crows, Wilson's scientific odyssey took him around the world, from a cave in southern Africa that preserved the dawn of human culture to the Vatican in Rome. Along the way, he spoke with dozens of fellow scientists, whose stories he relates along with his own.

Wilson's remarkable findings help us to understand how we must become wise managers of evolutionary processes to accomplish positive change at all scales, from effective therapies for individuals, to empowering neighborhoods, to regulating the worldwide economy.

With an ambitious scope that spans biology, sociology, religion, and economics, The Neighborhood Project is a memoir, a practical handbook for improving the quality of life, and an exploration of the big questions long pondered by religious sages, philosophers, and storytellers. Approaching the same questions from an evolutionary perspective shows, as never before, how places define us.
  • Little, Brown and Company
    • Format: Hardcover Book

    • Price: $25.99 US/$28.99 CAN

    • ISBN-13: 9780316037679

    • On Sale Date: 08/24/2011

    • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

    Formats Available: Hardcover Book, Electronic Book

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After decades studying creatures great and small, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson had an epiphany: Darwin's theory won't fully prove itself until it improves the quality of human life in a practical sense. And what better place to begin than his hometown of Binghamton, New York? Making a difference in his own city would provide a model for cities everywhere, which have become the habitat for over half of the people on earth.

Inspired to become an agent of change, Wilson descended on Binghamton with a scientist's eye and looked at its toughest questions, such as how to empower neighborhoods and how best to teach our children. He combined the latest research methods from experimental economics with studies of holiday decorations and garage sales. Drawing upon examples from nature as diverse as water striders, wasps, and crows, Wilson's scientific odyssey took him around the world, from a cave in southern Africa that preserved the dawn of human culture to the Vatican in Rome. Along the way, he spoke with dozens of fellow scientists, whose stories he relates along with his own.

Wilson's remarkable findings help us to understand how we must become wise managers of evolutionary processes to accomplish positive change at all scales, from effective therapies for individuals, to empowering neighborhoods, to regulating the worldwide economy.

With an ambitious scope that spans biology, sociology, religion, and economics, The Neighborhood Project is a memoir, a practical handbook for improving the quality of life, and an exploration of the big questions long pondered by religious sages, philosophers, and storytellers. Approaching the same questions from an evolutionary perspective shows, as never before, how places define us.

David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He is widely known for his fundamental contributions to evolutionary science and for explaining evolution to the general public. His books include Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives, Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, and Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior (with Elliott Sober). In addition to his own research, Wilson manages programs that expand the scope of evolutionary science in higher education, public policy, community-based research, and the study of religion.
  • WINNER OF THE 2012 BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE GREEN AWARD ( ).

  • "Imagine combining a moving autobiography, dozens of moving mini-biographies, accidental and intentional experiments in raising and educating children and planning cities, and explanations of what biology and religion are really about. Out of that mix comes this unique, beautifully written, wide-ranging book that will delight a universe of readers."

  • PRAISE FOR EVOLUTION FOR EVERYONE:

    "A sprightly, absorbing, and charmingly earnest book that manages a minor miracle, the near complete emulsifying of science and the real world." (New York Times).

  • "Wilson does for evolution what Steve Levitt does for economics in his book Freakonomics...Full of gripping stories about the natural world, related with humor and a rare flair for language." (Chicago Sun Times).

  • "A clear and pleasing style...breaking new ground in its sweeping breadth and offering much to think about." (Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)).

  • "A breath of fresh air. Wilson clearly but gently shows how evolution is essential to understanding all aspects of our daily lives. Fills a gap in understanding evolution." (American Museum of Natural History).

  • "A remarkable contribution. No other author has managed to combine mastery of the subject with such a clear and interesting explanation of what it all means for human self-understanding. Truly a book for our time." (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of On Human Nature).

  • "A well written, page-turning narrative. I was amazed by how much new ground Wilson covers, how many new ideas he presents." ( Publisher of Skeptic magazine).

  • "The Neighborhood Project, an organization Wilson founded to rejuvenate his hometown of Binghamton, NY...uses evolutionary theories to analyze behavioral data and improve quality of life...pleasurable...provide[s]...evidence for how lives, like ideas, intersect in fascinating ways." (Publisher's Weekly ).

  • "An evolutionary biologist applies his science to making the city of Binghamton, NY a better place to live, and in the telling, illuminates evolution and spells out his efforts to increase understanding of it....The side trips are...pleasurable, informative, and worthwhile." (Booklist ).

  • "The city reflects the nature of the human species in the same way that the hive reflects the nature of bees. In his usual engaging style, David Sloan Wilson uses the prism of evolution to explain our role in and control over these larger organisms of our own making." (Frans de Waal, author of Our Inner Ape and The Age of Empathy).

  • "Once again David Sloan Wilson reminds us that wherever we look, whether deep in a forest, in our backyards, or in urban classrooms, evolutionary processes -- biological, psychological, or cultural-are at work and understanding these processes can not only deepen our sense of place but also improve the way we lead our lives." (Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, author of Mother Nature and Mothers and Others: The evolutionary origins of mutual understanding).

Formats

Product Details

The Neighborhood Project
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $25.99 US/$28.99 CAN
  • Pages: 448
  • Physical Dimensions: 6" x 9-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316037679
  • On Sale Date: 08/24/2011
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