Coping with City Growth assesses Britain's handling of city growth during the First Industrial Revolution by combining the tools used by Third World analysts with the archival attention and eclectic style of the economic historian. What emerges is an exciting and provocative accounts that have long occupied problem development economists: urban unemployment, underemployment, and the alleged failure of city labour markets to absorb the flood of rural emigrants; the persistent influx of newcomers, which makes it difficult for municipal planners to improve the quality of social overhead; the crowding of migrants into densely packed urban slums with few, if any, social services; and rising density and city size which augment pollution while lowering the quality of the urban environment.
"Coping with City Growth is packed full of important research findings...it is an important piece of work that deserves to be read carefully by all scholars working on nineteenth-century British industrialization and urbanization." Journal of Economic History "The methods of enquiry are ingenious and stimulating, and some of the proposed answers to specific questions deserve careful consideration...a work of such intelligence and ingenuity..." Victorian Studies "He presents old questions in new ways, offers many interesting and innovative new answers, and provides an important work for both British historians and economists of the contemporary Third World. Scholars working on nineteenth-century British cities, as well as on such topics as public health and labor history, will be both informed and challenged by Williamson's study." Janet Roebuck, American Historical Review "...no one can doubt the book's value in raising crucial questions about the British urban experience." Robert L. Fishman, Albion