Why Are Cities Growing?

With globalization meaning goods can be shipped cheaply anywhere, and the internet means you can work anywhere, why are cities growing like crazy? Prof. Edward L. Glaeser of Harvard says that proximity breeds innovation.
May 20, 2009, 9am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"Why has information technology led to urban concentration rather than a great programmer diaspora?

Globalization and technological change have increased the returns to being smart; human beings are a social species that get smart by hanging around smart people. A programmer could work in the foothills of the Himalayas, but that programmer wouldn't learn much. If she came to Bangalore, then she would figure out what skills were more valuable, and what companies were growing, and which venture capitalists were open to new ideas in her field.

The information flows that come from proximity might also help to build the relationships that would enable her to create her own start-up. A remarkable number of information-technology start-ups in India were formed by partners who connected in Bangalore.

Knowledge moves more quickly at close quarters, and as a result, cities are often the gateways between continents and civilizations."

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Published on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 in The New York Times
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