The present is terrible and the future may be worse, so let's take refuge in the past. Monica L. Smith as an archaeologist and professor of anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles, whose latest book is Cities: The First 6,000 Years.
In it she investigates why cities first emerged, how they have evolved, and why people are drawn to them. She was kind enough to pop by New Statesman towers to give us a flavour, and tell me why cities first emerged, where you can find their ruins and what they have to teach us today.
If you like this one, by the way, you might want to check out episode 19, from way back in September 2016, when I spoke to the US history podcaster Rob Monaco about how it was we came to invent cities in the first place.
Skylines is produced by Nick Hilton.