America’s strongest cities are the victims of their own success, according to Richard Florida, senior editor at The Atlantic. He describes the way that “winner-take-all” economics is infiltrating real estate in superstar cities by comparing them to superstar athletes.
Superstar cities are places where the “most ambitious and most talented people” feel they need to be. But the more they cluster, the more valuable — and expensive — these top cities become. That’s great for landlords, but difficult for workers who earn less.
Florida advocates recognizing the “clustering” that makes top cities attractive, and creating more of these valuable places. Resistance to any new development makes top cities even more expensive by creating artificial scarcity. The key is to get the balance right.
“The world’s most innovative and creative places are not the high-rise canyons and vertical sprawl of Asian cities, but the walkable, mixed-used neighborhoods in San Francisco, New York, and London, filled with mid-rise buildings, factory and warehouse lofts, and the occasional high-rise, which enable constant mixing and interaction,” he writes in the Atlantic Monthly.
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