Joel Kotkin on cities

In: Daniel In The News

10 Jul 2010

A fascinating study on cities by Joel Kotkin (PDF) of the Legatum Institute, a free market think tank. At the core of the paper is an examination of the experience of three cities – London, Mexico City and Mumbai – but Kotkin covers a lot of ground.

Key points include:

  • The historical role of cities as crucibles of progress, Or, as Rene Descartes put it in the seventeenth century, “an inventory of the possible”.
  • The link between urbanism and upward mobility must be strengthened further. Particularly in burgeoning third world mega-cities.
  • In developed world cities upward mobility seems to have stalled.
  • Cities would benefit from becoming more dispersed rather than confined within tight urban boundaries.
  • Opposition to economic growth is a key factor in increasing poverty in cities.
  • Growth is necessary to meet the needs and aspirations of citizens.