'Consumption Amenities' Key to City Success

Cities that have fun things to do -- so-called "consumption amenities" -- are more successful at attracting people and growing jobs, according to a recent report.
January 4, 2009, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"In a paper published this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, economists Gerald A. Carlino and Albert Saiz looked at 150 metropolitan areas around the United States and found hat those rich in what they called 'consumption amenities' - the things that make a city delightful, such as parks, historic sites, museums, and beaches - 'disproportionally attracted highly educated individuals and experienced faster housing price appreciation.'"

"In other words, urban growth and prosperity have less to do with transportation links and industrial infrastructure than the patterns that govern behavior at a social mixer: Beautiful and charming cities draw a crowd, while the featureless and unattractive wilt like wallflowers."

"Carlino and Saiz's paper could give policy makers a new way to think about the conditions necessary for economic growth. As they consider how to boost the economy, they should think not about the raw materials of business, but about what will bring together talented people in the same place. This suggests a different approach to stimulus spending - and, likely, stark assessments about where to spend it that will not make for popular politics."

Thanks to Creative Class Exchange

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Published on Sunday, December 28, 2008 in The Boston Globe
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