Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Decentralized Relocalization

My new post is up at the DMN blog and as you can see, it is entitled Decentralized Relocalization where I counter Kotkin's market-related reasons for decentralization with why those decentralizing forces actually project towards a renewed localism. An excerpt:

The most valuable places, those in greatest demand, have always and will always be those with the highest degree of interconnectivity. As Lewis Mumford states, transportation must be made for all distances and speeds, whether leisurely or hurried that we desire. In his stead, we could probably add real or digital, as there will also be a vast market for improving linkages not just between people but also between the parallel geography of places virtual and real.

Lastly as previously mentioned, is energy. While Kotkin suggests a correlation between decentralized energy and decentralized people, the decentralization here actually just means produced by the many rather than the few. This also benefits from clustering of people, locally- or neighborhood-based power producers benefit via lack of transmission loss as energy has much less distance to travel than from centralized power plants.

All of which points back to our cities and improving those which we already have. There will be no new pop-up cities like Ordos or giant mega-buildings like Burj Khalifa, both of which were entirely supply-side and remain empty. Rather we will focus on qualitative growth and incremental improvement