Productivity Through Density

People naturally want to be near each other, which some suggest is one explanation for the increasing urbanization and densification of the world. Edward L. Glaeser argues that the information-based economy will push that trend even further.

"Understanding the appeal of proximity - the economic advantages of agglomeration - helps make sense of the past and future of cities. If people still clustered together primarily to reduce the costs of moving manufactured goods, then cities would become increasingly irrelevant as transportation costs continue to decline.

If cities serve, as I believe, primarily, to connect people and enable them to learn from one another, than an increasingly information-intensive economy will only make urban density more valuable."

He cites a study that shows economic productivity increasing with metropolitan density, and looks at some of the reasons why.

Full Story: Why Humanity Loves, and Needs, Cities



Reasons for increasing urbanization

Economic policies forcing people off their rural lands and into cities for employment is one of the major causes of urbanization in "developing" countries, not love of cities.

Villages are a much more human-scaled, "natural" form of habitation than cities.

People who grew up in the suburbs and now want to live in the city are in part because the suburbs have not met important social functions of cohesion and culture. This is a plus for cities but reflects the need to improve suburbs.

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