Reborn From the Crisis

In this thorough piece from <em>The Atlantic</em>, Richard Florida looks at the economic crisis facing the world, how it's affecting cities and regions, and how it will have a lasting effect on the U.S. -- in both good and bad ways.
February 13, 2009, 11am PST | Nate Berg
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"It is possible that the United States will enter a period of accelerating relative decline in the coming years, though that's hardly a foregone conclusion-a subject I'll return to later. What's more certain is that the recession, particularly if it turns out to be as long and deep as many now fear, will accelerate the rise and fall of specific places within the U.S.-and reverse the fortunes of other cities and regions. "

"How might various cities and regions fare as the crash of 2008 reverberates into 2009, 2010, and beyond? Which places will be spared the worst pain, and which left permanently scarred? Let's consider how the crash and its aftermath might affect the economic landscape in the long run, from coast to coast-beginning with the epicenter of the crisis and the nation's largest city, New York.To understand how the current crisis is likely to affect different places in the United States, it's important to understand the forces that have been slowly remaking our economic landscape for a generation or more.

Worldwide, people are crowding into a discrete number of mega-regions, systems of multiple cities and their surrounding suburban rings like the Boston–New York–Washington Corridor. In North America, these mega-regions include SunBelt centers like the Char-Lanta Corridor, Northern and Southern California, the Texas Triangle of Houston–San Antonio–Dallas, and Southern Florida's Tampa-Orlando-Miami area; the Pacific Northwest's Cascadia, stretching from Portland through Seattle to Vancouver; and both Greater Chicago and Tor-Buff-Chester in the old Rust Belt. Internationally, these mega-regions include Greater London, Greater Tokyo, Europe's Am-Brus-Twerp, China's Shanghai-Beijing Corridor, and India's Bangalore-Mumbai area. Economic output is ever-more concentrated in these places as well. The world's 40 largest mega-regions, which are home to some 18 percent of the world's population, produce two-thirds of global economic output and nearly 9 in 10 new patented innovations.

Some (though not all) of these mega-regions have a clear hub, and these hubs are likely to be better buffered from the crash than most cities, because of their size, diversity, and regional role."

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, February 12, 2009 in The Atlantic
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