Saturday, May 05, 2007

"The world goes to town"

The Economist of May 5 includes "The world goes to town," a survey of the state and the promise of the world's cities. Much of the survey makes great sense. Institutions that preclude predation are critical. Sustained economic development came with the industrial revolution but that required sustained urbanization.

A better way to say it is that entrepreneurial success accompanies and is the driver for all three. The survey alludes to the "reinvention test". And "a strong base of skilled workers ... has been a source of long-run urban health." Also "With age, cities go centrifugal -- but maybe not forever." Maybe. But why not connect all of these ideas?

Skilled workers arrive and become productive because there is entrpreneurial success. The latter requires flexible institutions. And these make reinvention possible, including new spatial forms.

This view undermines the article's weird pining for better coordination of urban plans. Yet, all in all, it's a good read.