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procommunity
U.S.A.
Practical planner who enjoys helping community organizations improve results.
Interests: community development, community planning, civic engagement, facilitation, economic development, sprawl
Recent Activity
Interesting patterns. I agree with the practical conclusions that economies need to diversity into new industries and also allow labor to move into the more productive industries. Governments should assist by devising practical ways of easing the pain of moving from a rural to an urban lifestyle, or from a lifelong occupation into another one.
While there can be real negatives to city living (crime, pollution, noise, anonymity), I agree with one of the basic Glaeser points that the return on smartness has increased and must increase if the U.S. economy is to reinvent itself successfully yet again. Where I don't necessarily agree is the idea that being around smart people face-to-face is the best or only way to become smarter. Simply valuing being smart is important. If we valued brainpower enough to turn off dumb media and entertainment, and started acting as if a celebrity screw-up are more of an embarrassment than something to stimulate our gray matter, we might become smarter whether we live on a six-acre ranchette or in a six-story building next door to a ten-story building. It's not simply being around smart people, but rather exposing oneself to a diversity of smart ideas, visual and auditory cues, and people, whether in person, in books (gasp!) or online, that can add to our intellectual capital. It's the pressure to conform in suburbia that deadens, not some invisible energy force in cul-de-sacs. If suburbanites value smarts, they will find a way to keep learning and keep thinking new thoughts. While I agree that cities are important to our economic future because of the sheer density of unusual juxtapositions, suburbs and rural areas can foster inventive ideas too. So I think it's a matter of having the will to innovate.
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