7 Reasons Why Big Cities Matter

Writing for <em>City Journal</em>, Mario Polese argues that big cities are more important than ever, and backs up his argument with seven reasons they're luring people, from economies of scale to falling transportation and communication costs.
December 3, 2010, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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Even in an age where people can telecommute, the lure of being in a big city seems to be growing. Polese offers seven reasons why.

"Let's start with the most basic pillar, one that has historically supported the great manufacturing economies of big cities: economies of scale in production. That is, as the scale of production increases, unit costs fall. That basic rule of economics makes it profitable for firms to manufacture goods in just a few large factories, rather than in many smaller ones. And if you're going to have just one or two big plants, it makes sense to locate them where you can find a lot of workers: densely packed urban areas. This logic explains the growth of large manufacturing cities like Detroit in the earlier part of the twentieth century. Nowadays, though, it applies most readily to midsize cities, because real estate in larger cities often costs too much to build big factories."

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Published on Thursday, December 2, 2010 in City Journal
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