I've been thinking about the nation-level lessons of the great book by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail, and wondering how you might apply the same kind of thinking to cities. Not all cities of course. We're not talking about tiny, sub-critical-mass cities pretending they can be the next Silicon Valley, or dying one-trick-pony company towns trying to find their next singular raison d'etre. We're talking about cities big enough to have a great, varied, storied, past and potentially equally great future, well past the critical mass required for urban-stellar ignition. We're talking cities with enough of a cohered, but open-ended identity, independent of any functional role in a given economic era, that they can think in terms of becoming the next, best version of themselves rather than their next "job" in the world economy.
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