The Changing Role of Globalized Cities

National Geographic Traveler talks with urban theorist Richard Florida about the changing roles of cities, and the emerging centers of economic prosperity.

"National Geographic Explorer: Is the 21st century the century of the city?

Richard Florida: No doubt about that. In 20­08, the world went urban-with more than half the population now living in urban centers. The world now turns on these great conglomerations of cities we called mega-regions, the Boston−New York−Washington corridor, the areas that stretch from Chicago to Detroit and Cleveland to Pittsburgh, Greater London, Greater Tokyo, the Brussels-Antwerp-Amsterdam corridor, and so on. These 40 mega-regions house less than 20 percent of the population but produce two-thirds of the Earth's economic output and nine in ten of our innovations. Cities are the key to all the grand challenges of the century. Economic prosperity comes from density. It comes from close interactions. It comes from people and firms clustering together to spur new innovation and to leverage each other's talents to create new technologies and new ways of doing business that will drive growth and raise living standards."
Florida also discusses globalization's impact on homogeneity in cities around the world, and how those cities can identify their own unique qualities.

Full Story: Cities are the Key


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