Rural U.S. Losing Out on Innovation

Alex Steffen of WorldChanging observes the growing divide in innovation between urban and rural America.

"[T]he kinds and amounts of innovation available to a person vary significantly in urban and suburban and rural America, and the degree to which they vary is increasing rapidly. Some of those variations are really obvious: you can't get cellphone coverage everywhere in rural America, much less broadband, for instance.

But a whole other major class of innovations, which has to do with the layering of infotech over place, is less noted but sharp and clear once you look. Mapping aps like WalkScore, smart grids, car-sharing and product-service systems, place-annotation systems like Yelp and the like all seem to both make more sense in wealthy urban environments, and to be taken up more quickly into the culture.

And, as we've remarked here before, all things being equal, people who live in compact communities tend to keep more of their paychecks as disposable income and spend less time commuting and running errands, meaning they have more money and time to buy gadgets, experiment with innovative tools and update their systems... thus perhaps fueling more and faster innovations.

Or at least so goes the theory."

Full Story: Urban Revival, Suburban Form and Divergent Innovation

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95