Comment 71202

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2011 at 10:41:49

Delightful article. I'm really enjoying how "cool" it is these days to talk about economics.

The primary issue for me when it comes to cities is the relationship between the city and the rural "hinterlands" beyond it. Historically this has been a rather one-sided relationship, leading to an incredibly un-balanced flow of people and resources into the cities. People often focus on how internally efficient (economically or ecologically), while ignoring the larger-scale costs.

The solution, if one exists, would be to further leverage the principles listed above to focus on making cities as efficient and self-reliant as possible (if not within themselves then at least between each other). I'd add one more principle, though, "economies of recycling". Because of the large number of productive activities that take place in cities, a large amount of waste is produced. Because they often use similar materials but in different scales (ie: upholstery vs wallets), much of this scrap is still useful. It can be trucked to the countryside and dumped, but that's certainly not an ideal approach. By re-using and recycling them, we can make use of this virtually free, ultra-local sources of materials which are already highly processed (plastics, metals etc). This plays an important role in supporting lower-income residents (scrappers, salvagers etc) as well as incubating new creative ventures (who can experiment with very cheap materials before ordering them).

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