Joel Kotkin: The New Boomtowns

After the hip cities of the dot-com era, and the low-cost ones that attracted businesses following the dot-com bubble, come the next wave of boomtowns. Joel Kotkin identifies what makes these cities flourish.

"Three kinds of boomtowns have emerged in the last decade. The dot-com era created brainy, culturally savvy, "hip" cities such as Boston, San Francisco, Berlin, Montreal and Sydney. But they turned into very expensive places in which to do business and for the middle class to live.

Low-cost cities became the new boomtowns after the bubble economy burst in 2000. Business and tech firms headed to Phoenix, Reno and Fort Myers, Fla., and other no-nonsense, middlebrow places.

Now, the prospect of persistently high energy prices has fueled the latest wave of boomtowns, Rodney Dangerfield-like places that are finally getting respect â€" Calgary, Canada; Nagoya, Japan; Perth, Australia; Casper, Wyo., and Midland, Texas."

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