Networks, not size, determine cities’ economic prosperity

August 31st, 2010 - 2:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Aug 31 (ANI): A city’s well-connected networks play a role in its economic prosperity and not its size, says a new study.

Michigan State University sociologist Zachary Neal found that the rise of commercial aviation, high-speed rail, the Internet and other technological advances have allowed smaller cities to compete with urban powers such as New York and Chicago.

“Fifty years ago, no one would have thought to put a multinational corporation in Bentonville, Ark., when it could be in New York or Chicago or Los Angeles,” said Neal.

“But changes in technology have started to level the playing field in terms of what cities can do,” he added.

These “wired towns” such as Bentonville, Ark. - Wal-Mart’s corporate home - were essentially insignificant 50 years ago but have emerged as major economic centres, according to the study.

The findings could help city planners and officials better formulate plans to stimulate their local economies by helping them know where to focus their efforts.

However, in the next five decades, the factor in local economies may shift from technology and networks to environmental sustainability.

The study was published online Aug. 30 in the research journal City and Community. (ANI)

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