How East Coast Tech Startups Became a Downtown Phenomenon

By Richard Florida
Published: August 14, 2013
atlanticcities.com

The East Coast has long lagged behind Silicon Valley and the Bay Area as a center for startups and venture capital investment.

The Route 128 corridor outside Boston remained a distant second to the Bay Area in the 70s and 80s because its stodgy, hierarchical culture was less able to adapt to new technology, University of California at Berkley’s AnnaLee Saxenian has argued. Further south, New York City has been a source of venture capital finance since the industry’s birth, but it mainly exported these resources to startups in the Bay Area and Route 128. And Washington, D.C., the southern end of the productive Boston-Washington corridor, has largely been known as a government town, with its modest tech scene clustered in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs.

But the past several years have seen a substantial shift. New York has risen dramatically as a venture capital center; venture capital and startup activity in greater Boston have shifted from the suburbs to urban neighborhoods in the center city and around MIT. Washington D.C., has transformed into a growing startup hub as well.

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What Makes Urban Charter Schools Effective?

By Eric Jaffe
Published: February 7, 2013
theatlanticcities.com

Last month Technology Review profiled M.I.T. economist Josh Angrist, who’s known for conducting “natural experiments.” That’s an academic way of describing research that occurs through observing the world, as opposing to being controlled in a lab. From his morning commute in Cambridge (via bike) to his interest in urban charter schools (analyzing their effectiveness), it’s clear that Angrist’s powers of observation are largely focused on cities.

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Families WILL Choose to Live Downtown, If We Design for Kids!

By Brent Toderian
Published: September 24, 2012
Planetizen

A few months back, Toronto’s Deputy Mayor started a political flap, stating on the floor of City Council that downtown was no place to raise kids! “Where’s little Ginny? Well, she’s downstairs playing in the traffic on her way to the park,” he exclaimed.

Flap, indeed. Urbanists and parents alike were quick to denounce the comment, including me. In a way though, we might thank the Deputy Mayor for saying candidly what unfortunately many politicians, and many parents, might still think.

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The Economic Impact of Knowledge Clusters

By Richard Florida
Published: June 7, 2012
theatlanticcities.com

Knowledge in Cities: that’s the title of a new study published in the May 2012 issue of the journal Urban Studies. Knowledge is a key factor in the growth and development of cities and metros and of the economy as a whole. And the study breaks new ground by identifying 11 distinct knowledge clusters and tracking which have the biggest effect on regional economic growth.

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A Gap in College Graduates Leaves Some Cities Behind

By Sabrina Tavernise
Published: May 30, 2012
NY Times

As cities like this one try to reinvent themselves after losing large swaths of their manufacturing sectors, they are discovering that one of the most critical ingredients for a successful transformation — college graduates — is in perilously short supply.

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