Will a Liberated Workforce Still Need Cities?

Kaid Benfield investigates the rise of a more independent and nimble workforce, and ponders what the new economy means for the shape of cities as we enter an urban epoch
February 9, 2012, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Benfield quotes Thomas Fisher, dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, on the changes to the physical environment that a liberated workforce will demand.

According to Fisher, "The next economy, though, may look more like the way in which people lived and worked prior to the industrial revolution, in which home, office, and shop co-exist in some combination of physical and digital space. This may require rethinking our zoning laws to allow for a much finer-grain mix of uses and repurposing buildings designed for single functions that will have no tenants or buyers if they remain that way."

Benfield argues that, while cities may no longer be necessary to maximize manufacturing efficiencies, they will be essential in providing the amenities to attract and encourage the creativity (paraphrasing Richard Florida) required for the new economy.

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Published on Monday, February 6, 2012 in Switchboard
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