Category Archives: Globalization

What Matters: As the world urbanizes, will the most successful cities result from top-down planning or bottom-up innovation?

What Matters: As the world urbanizes, will the most successful cities result from top-down planning or bottom-up innovation?.

We keep hearing about the massive rural exodus taking place everywhere on the planet. However, don’t we start to see at the same time a counter-trend showing people walking away from the biggest cities because they have become too big, too inhuman to feel comfortable staying there? Unfortunately, it is true that a lot of people cannot afford living on the country side, far away from cities, where the bulk of the jobs is. But, if people had a choice, where would they live?

I used to go regularly to Paris for work. I love that city, I really do, I particularly enjoy walking down the streets, looking at the old monuments and its incredible architecture. However, I would not leave the country side where I live for Paris, not even for a fortune. Paris is a marvelous city for a tourist, it is an awful city to live in especially when you have a family.

Going one step further, the world does not only urbanize, it also globalizes, a lot of people do not have local jobs any longer, they have global and mobile jobs that they can do anywhere anytime. The line between life and work is getting thinner and thinner. In this context, I would expect that over time people will leave the biggest cities and come back on the country side to enjoy a better quality of life. Let’s face it, unless you are really earning a fortune, your quality of life in any city of the world will always be lower than what you can enjoy on the country side. So if people had a choice, I would actually expect them to go¬† to the place that can give them the biggest bang for the buck and that will not be in any big city where life is so amazingly expensive and temptation of our consumerism society¬† is all over the place…

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