Clusters on Steroids

Richard Florida has a lot to say about how urban economics is changing. It is all based on his — and others — notion that “clusters” are where future value-added activities will occur. These bits of data are pretty amazing

The extent to which economic activity has become concentrated in the world’s cities and metropolitan areas is staggering. The fifty largest metros across the globe house just 7 percent of the world’s total population but generate 40 percent of global economic activity. Just forty mega-regions—constellations of cities and metros like the Boston–New York–Washington corridor—account for roughly two-thirds of the world’s economic output and more than 85 percent of its innovation, while housing just 18 percent of its population. The amount of economic activity packed into small urban spaces within the leading cities is even more astonishing. Just one small sliver of downtown San Francisco, for instance, attracts billions of dollars in venture capital annually, more than any nation on the planet save for the United States. This is why I believe it is more useful to refer to contemporary capitalism as urbanized knowledge capitalism as opposed to knowledge-based capitalism.

In the future, we will all cluster or suffer the consequences.


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