Saturday, July 03, 2010

The more things change?

Today's auto-oriented cities are very different from pre-automobile cities. The internet has also changed our lives in many ways, but where is the physical evidence in our cities? Perhaps it's too soon to tell or perhaps very old decentralization trends have simply been reinforced. (And on flimsy evidence, some have even suggested that these trends have been weakened and/or reversed. But see here for some perspective.)

The Economist's Economics focus column mentions a recently published paper in the Economic Journal which describes the many survivors of the e-commerce revolution. Harvard Square (among others) is still populated by shops that involve old fashioned physical attendance.

And look at all those people seeking an internet connection at a public place (e.g., Starbucks and many others) when they already have one at home.