Creative Urban America

I first created this blog because I was frustrated with how little respect urban culture was getting in the US. The real America was always assumed to be the small town with traditional values, but we all know from quite sometime that it is in urban settings that creativity excels---ultimately producing the riches that propel the country. Most rural states receive much more federal money than they contribute.

In the last few years, these facts have been shown scientifically in a number of settings, such as the "pace of life in cities", a brilliant paper by my friend Luis Bettencourt last year. It is great to finally see urban America recognized as mainstream America, and possibly its only hope for the future---as in today's piece by TIMOTHY EGAN in the NYTimes.com. Hey City Zen!

"Urban Planet" from Elica's Online Museum

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I think much of this is caused by city design in the U.S. In Europe many cities were required to be compact due to the transportation methods available during their expansion. In the U.S. you have places like Indianapolis (~13th largest city in the U.S.) that are so spread out they always feel like a small town. The only three cities I have been to that have truly felt like Metropolises have been New York City and Chicago (although I'm sure those living in San. Fran. and L.A. have similar feelings). I think urban culture would receive more respect if city planners in the U.S. would think urban instead of suburban whenever they expand cities.
Following on nathaniel's comment, I'd like to point that city design is not even the main point to the problem. I live in a quite compact european city with almost 1 million inhabitants. Urban city culture is missing. Actually I believe it never existed. Here traditionalism rules and nothing is ever allowed to change. This town size is similar to that of Copenhagen and the city is as densely packed as Manhattan but culturally is just a large pueblo.

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