“Where all the smart people are going”
December 24, 2010 Leave a comment
Talented, highly-skilled and highly educated people are clustering in and around America’s major cities to an extent few would have thought possible a couple decades ago, when suburbs and sprawl were the locations of choice and cities were for the musicians, artistic creatives, and the poor.
Despite its many upsides, this urban revival both reflects and reinforces the great economic and social divide which is splitting America by geography as well as by class. Beside the small number of resurgent central cities stand many other once-great cities, including the Rustbelt cities that literally drove American economic might during the early to mid 20th century, that continue to languish and even decline, while the Sunbelt cities of sand have been hit heavily by the housing crash.
Left to its own devices, America’s economic landscape will only get spikier and more uneven, and its political landscape, already being reshaped by the rise of rightwing populism and of the Tea Party movement, ever more polarized. Restoring sustainable economic growth and a more socially and politically cohesive society will require nothing less than new policies and institutions which can channel growth in ways that enable the many benefits of economic clustering while ensuring improving wages and living standards for the broader populace.