30 May 2011

Cities as a Source of Recovery from the Economic Crisis of 2008, Part I

Throughout history, cities have been the impetus for innovation and prosperity. This is where ideas started that transformed the cultural, economic and political environment globally in the past and presumably in the future. Granted, the Internet is a vehicle for sharing ideas, but implementation of concepts is not done in virtual space, but in real time and real space. If you examine where ideas happened in the past at such centers as Florence, London, Paris, New York, ‘Silicon Valley’ (the greater San Jose area) and Curitiba, Brazil, one will find that there were commonalities that resulted in the spread of this wealth to other locations. What made these places an ‘initiator’ in the philosophy of ‘fractal change” and ultimately prosperity? We have to inspect these places and determine if they ‘shed some light’ on what are the prerequisites for creating ‘fractals’ that will transform urban areas again into loci of growth and prosperity?

Juxtaposing the dynamic nature of these urban centers, past and present, with the economic ‘mood’ of many US cities and others in the developed world where there is entropy, there is a dissonance that can only get worse. Cities across the nation are facing shrinking budgets as retail and property taxes are decreasing. Therefore, they are cutting services and limiting their scope of vision. This can only put cities into a ‘nose dive’ further creating situations that will lead to further decline and a dim future. If left alone, this will result in another state. However, is a state where cities have lost their focus and purpose a desired one? Cities became prosperous of their locational competitiveness tied into the provision of excellent infrastructure ( transportation systems, sewer and water systems, waste disposal, and communication network) and the momentum created by visionary leaders. Without investing in infrastructure, innovation, creativity and visionaries, these cities will continue to stagnate given the present economic situation.

To Be Continued

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