NEW YORK -- A decade from now, the hearts of some of our largest cities will no longer be defined by gleaming skyscrapers surrounded by well-manicured corporate plazas. The city will regain its human scale and emerge once again as a series of communities -- completing a fascinating journey back to the future.
The idea that people routinely emptied chamberpots out windows into the street is one of the images of the past that has been taught to generations of school children. It's usually said to have been done in the Middle Ages and it's an image that has stuck with many people, particularly because we find it so disgusting. Unfortunately, like many popular ideas about the Middle Ages, it's largely nonsense.