Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November 11 2015. A fresh perspective is a wonderful thing—especially where an entire economy is concerned.





Now, what can we deduce from this information—in the context of encouraging the kind of economic development that is consistent with enhancing the quality of our lives?

  • We don’t do nearly enough to cultivate human creativity. It is our greatest untapped resource. Yet, where we do tap into it, the return that is generated is both extraordinary and lasting. Here, the UK’s very deliberate investment in the arts comes to mind. The results of this permeate the entire culture from the theatre to the BBC, from architecture to innovation—and are some of the most significant reasons which explain why such a small country, which has lost its empire, still has such significance on the world stage—and, overall, is so prosperous. It is no coincidence that London is widely regarded as one of the greatest cities in the world—and an economic powerhouse in its own right. It is also one of the most creative cities in the world.
  • Human creative potential seems to be maximized when we cluster together—providing we have enough individual space (and space, in this context, is not primarily physical—though that is, obviously, a factor—but I am referring more to privacy, when required, and freedom from intrusion). We now have the technological solutions to achieve this at reasonable cost (if we are so minded). We can even mitigate that tricky issue—noise pollution (something that tends to be overlooked or ignored by developers, but which can be particularly intrusive).
  • It would be highly beneficial if we got much better at building cities. Mankind has progressed in all kinds of ways, but arguably not where city building is concerned. Stroll around many European cities—whose roots go back centuries—and this fact is self-evident. We need to re-learn and build on those skills.
  • I debate whether private development and private ownership are the best ways of building the best cities. Here, I am not taking an ideological stance but merely pointing out that profit objectives are frequently incompatible with social objectives. To achieve both may well requite some new social structure—or mix of such structures.
  • We already know that cities can be highly energy efficient. Buildings already exist which produce more electricity than they consume. How far could be take this? What are the implications of bountiful low-cost (or free) energy? They are truly awesome.
  • Given the quite remarkable technological advances which have been made over the last couple of hundred years—and particularly in the last few decades—it could be highly beneficial to build a new city from scratch to see just how well we could make it work.
  • Paradoxically, the car—the ultimate personal physical communication device—divides us. It has led, for instance, to vast suburbs which make debatable use of space—and are both time-consuming and costly to live in. It also has negative impacts on both our health—and on the environment in general. Clearly, we need intermittent access to something as convenient as a car, but I question the need to own them as often as we do. Call-on-demand self-driving cars may change the whole equation. Those apart, we would all benefit a great deal from a return to proximity and walking—and comprehensive public transport.
  • If we could minimize the pollution that we normally associate with a city—much of it stemming from cars, vans, trucks, and buses—we could almost certainty grow a great deal of the food the population of the city requires within the confines of the city—or in close proximity to it.
  • We are in no danger of running out of land if we make proper use of it.

These are just a few initial thoughts to sow the seed. It’s amazing how helpful it is to see something from another perspective. Kudos to

I’m a great believer in the concept of a focused city—as in a city built and largely focused on a given goal. Tsukuba Science City in Japan (see below) comes to mind. It has been an incredible success. This is an extract from what Wikipedia has to say about it.

Tsukuba Science City represents one of the world's largest coordinated attempts to accelerate the rate of and improve the quality of scientific discovery. The city was closely modeled on other planned cities and science developments, including Brasilia, Novosibirsk's Akademgorodok,Bethesda, and Palo Alto. The city was founded by the merger of Ōho, Sakura, Toyosato, and Yatabe.

Beginning in the 1960s, the area was designated for development. Construction of the city centre, the University of Tsukuba and 46 public basic scientific research laboratories began in the 1970s. The city became operational in the 1980s to stimulate scientific discovery. Its constituent municipalities were administratively united in 1987.

By 2000, the city's 60 national research institutes and two universities had been grouped into five zones: higher education and training, construction research, physical science and engineering research, biological and agricultural research, and common (public) facilities. These zones were surrounded by more than 240 private research facilities. Among the most prominent institutions are the University of Tsukuba (1973; formerly Tokyo University of Education); the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK); the Electrotechnical Laboratory; the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory; and the National Institute of Materials and Chemical Research. The city has an international flair, with about 3,000 foreign students and researchers from as many as 90 countries living in Tsukuba at any one time.

Over the past several decades, nearly half of Japan's public research and development budget has been spent in Tsukuba. Important scientific breakthroughs by its researchers include the identification and specification of the molecular structure of superconducting materials, the development of organic optical films that alter their electrical conductivity in response to changing light, and the creation of extreme low-pressure vacuum chambers[citation needed]. Tsukuba has become one of the world's key sites for government-industry collaborations in basic research. Earthquake safety, environmental degradation, studies of roadways, fermentation science, microbiology, and plant genetics are some of the broad research topics having close public-private partnerships.

I can see no reason why the same sort of thing cannot be tried elsewhere.

View of Mount Tsukuba and Tsukuba Center

The following is from

This 3D Map Visualizes the U.S. Economy in a New Way

4 November 2015

The U.S. Department of Commerce and its Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)recently released its statistics on gross domestic product (GDP) by metropolitan area for 2014. The BEA determines the statistics for each metropolitan area as the sum of the GDP originating in all industries in the area. The data is the sub-state counterpart of the nationwide GDP. It is the most comprehensive measure of economic activity.

We built a map to provide a 3D visualization of the GDP by metropolitan area, seen below. The higher the cone rising out of the map, the greater the GDP in that area. In analyzing the data, we found that the top 20 metropolitan areas represent over 52% of the total GDP in the United States. GDP grew 2.3% for all metropolitan areas in 2014, after increasing 1.9% in 2013.

GDP By Metropolitan Area

As shown by the map, the New York metropolitan area, which includes Newark and Jersey City, lead the country with $1.5 trillion in GDP. The area had GDP growth of 2.4% in 2014. The New York metropolitan area provided almost 10% of the total GDP for the entire country.

The Greater Los Angeles area was second with $866 billion in GDP, with an increase of 2.3% over 2013. This was followed by the Chicago metropolitan area with $610 billion and growth of 1.8%. In fourth was the Houston metro area with $525 billion. Dallas, another Texas metro area, had $504 billion in GDP.

GDP By State

We also broke down the GDP by state. We calculated that the top 5 states contributed 40% of the overall GDP for the United States as follows:

  • California: $2.11 trillion, 13% of overall GDP

  • Texas: $1.46 trillion, 9.5% of overall GDP

  • New York: $1.28 trillion, 8.4% of overall GDP

  • Florida: $769 billion, 4.8% of overall GDP.

  • Illinois: $680 billion, 4.3% of overall GDP.

Effect of Population

One important factor for GDP appears to be the population for both the state and the metropolitan areas. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Houston are the five most densely populated metropolitan areas in that order. Further, California, Texas and New York have the highest populations by state in that order. There appears to be a relationship between GDP output and the population for a geographical area. 

The Final Analysis

The largest metropolitan areas contributed the greatest amount of GDP for the country. According to our analysis, the top 20 metropolitan areas contributed over half of the United State’s GDP. The New York metropolitan area contributed nearly 10% to the GDP by itself. In terms of a breakdown by state, the top 5 states contributed around 40% of the entire country’s GDP. California alone contributed over 13% of the total GDP for the country.

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