Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Article Review: Joel Kotkin vs. Richard Florida

I'm taking a break from the day-to-day for a few days and article and blog reviews are the diet for that period of time.  Enjoy.

Bruce Katz at the Brookings Institution took on the battle of demographers noted for taking divergent futuristic views of America--Joel Kotkin and Richard Florida.  The New Republic article titled Function, Form, and the Metropolitan Future is from 2010, but it's still worth reading as if it was written today.

Katz tends to favor the Richard Florida, urban-oriented sect and his adjectives tend to show his bias, but the article makes good points nonetheless.

Connecting places that have common economies does make more sense than just connecting places based on geography alone.

Katz is right.  Multimodal freight, energy infrastructure, and logistical hubs are important components of place development and cannot get lost in a debate about whether future generations will favor urban living over suburban or vice versa.

What Katz misses though is that one almost never sees Richard Florida talking about manufacturing while  Kotkin writes about the topic almost constantly.  The kind of infrastructure Katz cites is for manufacturing-oriented economies, the sort that Florida doesn't envision in America's future but Kotkin does.

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