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Why the city matters

As a follow up to the previous post God’s bias for the city, here’s some thoughts on why the cities are strategic to anyone who wants to make a global impact.

Cities are both magnets and magnifiers.  People from surrounding areas are drawn in and everything they do is amplified and ripples back out.

Increased density means there’s people like you there.  People you can connect with and people you compete with.

Increased diversity means there’s people completely unlike you there that you’ll need to learn to work with and from.

Density and diversity cultivates, if not forces, innovation and change

Cities are where the fringes of culture converge – the poor and the rich, the skater and the geek, etc.

Cities are where people are at.  As of 2007 the world reached a demographic tipping point where more people live in urban environments than rural.  Nearly all population growth going forward will be in cities.

Cities are educational hubs where new ideas and creativity are highly valued.

Cities are media hubs that broadcast the human story.

Cities shape and create culture for the masses downstream.  Where the city goes, the culture goes.

Your thoughts?

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Alan January 29, 2010, 2:47 pm

    I agree with all of this, of course. I am a convert of the city. 🙂

    One question about this statement: “more people live in urban environments than rural.” – It’s intuitive for me to believe this is true in developing world. And seemingly in Toronto, where condos are going up in the city left and right. But surely, this stat includes the suburb as part of the city. And not that I’m declaring war on the suburb, but culture has plenty to say about the average joe’s desire for the suburb, and the challenges for the diversity/density argument that result. Thoughts?

    • joeie February 4, 2010, 7:06 am

      Hey Alan – who you calling an ‘average joe’?! 😛

  • Lon January 30, 2010, 4:47 pm

    there’s lots of stats on the web if you search for it, but the consensus is that we’ve passed the tipping point – north america passed it in like the 1920s, but the rest of the two-thirds world has reached it as well. if you’re thinking of suburbs in the gta, many of them actually are cities in their own way.

    suburbs to me have the potential to be future urban centers. people just need to be intentional about embracing where they are. suburb as a concept of strictly residential individual units of housing though – i am not a fan of… but as another hub within a region, lots of potential can be there.

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