Saturday, November 05, 2011

A Measure of a Society's Resilience

The US is a dynamic mixture of large and small. While in most nations it is the large central cities which feed knowledge and culture to the rest of the society, in the US knowledge and culture flows in both directions.

In ancient times, power tended to flow from one city-state to another, as conditions suitable for prosperity naturally shifted over time. With the coming of the nation-state, it was thought by many analysts that the city-state concept had become obsolete -- particularly in regard to smaller cities. But it is the health of cities -- including small cities -- that contributes to the resilience and robustness of the nation.
Images from Wired

Livable cities draw creative people, and creative people spawn jobs. Some places you’d never expect—small cities not dominated by a university—are learning how to lure knowledge workers, entrepreneurs, and other imaginative types at levels that track or even exceed the US average (30 percent of workers). Here are some surprising destinations from the data of the Martin Prosperity Institute, directed by Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class. _Wired

Most conventional analysts of societal growth and knowledge dynamics will assume that knowledge flows out of large universities and university towns into society at large. But in a free society with a market economy, knowledge is apt to originate most anywhere the market operates. And that knowledge is apt to flow anywhere the market can reach.
Above: How Omaha Nebraska was transformed into one of the US Midwest's most vibrant cultural hubs, starting in the 1990s and proceeding into the 2000s (see case study).

Adapted from an earlier article published originally in Al Fin Potpourri

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