The New Economy ... it was supposed to free us from the constraints of "place." Geography no longer mattered.
But in an important new study from the Milken Institute, researchers have found the opposite to be true: In today's high-tech world, creative, highly educated, skilled workers are moving to the very places whose best days, many believed, were over -- America's urban centers.
"The revitalization underway in some of America's urban centers represents one of the most important, if surprising, developments of the new millennium," says the study, "Knowledge-Value Cities in the Digital Age," released by the Institute.
While the digital age makes it easier for skilled workers to choose where they want to work and live, what they're choosing are cities that appeal to their lifestyle. These are some of America's biggest and oldest cities -- places where other single, creative people live, and where they enjoy the arts, culture and other lifestyle amenities.
"The most salient reason for urban revival comes from the role our cities are playing in the enormous technological revolution now transforming the larger economy," says the report, written by Ross DeVol, director of Regional and Demographic Studies at the Milken Institute, and Senior Fellow Joel Kotkin.
The authors found that the cities that have done best in the current urban revival are New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago.
But there is another group of cities -- in the 500,000 population range and below -- that has also benefited from the digital revolution. These "emerging technology" cities provide the "hard," or support side, of technology -- manufacturing, services and supplies -- with fewer of the drawbacks that trouble major high-tech communities: higher costs of business, traffic congestion, and so on.
The most encouraging development of the digital age, however, may be the renaissance of some of America's most troubled urban neighborhoods, thanks to inexpensive rents and classic buildings with large spaces available to house the growing creative high-tech companies and their workers.
For a copy of "Knowledge-Value Cities in the Digital Age" .... CLICK below ( Adobe Acrobat required):