Ancient Civilizations Show Neighborhood Communities Important To Cities Past And Present

Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - 3:00pm
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - 4:56pm

(Photo by Mariana Dale-KJZZ)
Tourists at Teotihuacan, an archeological site northeast of Mexico City.
(Photo by Mariana Dale-KJZZ)
Teotihuacan is home to several Mesoamerican pyramids.

What lessons can an ancient civilization hold for a modern city?

Well, it turns out, plenty. Michael Smith is helping translate them. He’s an archaeology professor at ASU, and director of the school’s Teotihuacan Research Lab in Southern Mexico, which studies the Mesoamerican city. He looks at the houses where people lived to try and discern what everyday life was like.

"Around the world and through time is the importance of neighborhoods," Smith said. "It's partly because people move into a city, there's lots of people, it's big and people want to live their life on a smaller scale."

 He said there might not be specific advice from the long-ago residents of Teotihuacan, but general ideas that can be adopted.

"It's a way to sort of improve life in cities is to focus on the neighborhood level," Smith said.

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