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Why Cities Are Our Most Important Innovation Platform

Matt Ball on November 9, 2013 - in Smart Cities

Urban areas, as Jane Jacobs pointed out in her classic, The Economy of Cities, are not particularly efficient.  They’re expensive, hard to navigate places. So it shouldn’t be surprising that most production happens outside of cities—in farms and factory towns where land and labor are cheap.

Cities, however, create new work and that’s key to their success.  Jacobs argues that progress begins with import replacement.  For example, in the mid-20th century, Tokyo imported a lot of bicycles, which created a large market for repair shops. Eventually, those shops began making their own parts, which led to manufacturing whole bicycles and then exports.

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About Matt Ball

Matt Ball is a former editor and publisher of V1 Media.

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