How to face globalization (V). Urban manufacturing: “Made in the city”

made-in-nyPrevious post: How to face globalization (IV). Changes at work. The urban jiu-jitsu

Big corporations are much less innovative than they seem to a non-trained eye. Innovation often happens despite big corporations and sparks in new businesses fueled by ex-employees of companies that, combining top skills with a deep business knowledge, decide to part and implement their ideas on their own account. It is important that the city fosters these processes so these spin-offs can survive and succeed.

In her acclaimed book “The economy of cities”, Jane Jacobs cleverly explains the former process. Her understanding of the economic flows of a city implies that, only by means of innovation, cities can engine sustainable growth, since only innovation is able to create products and services to be exported and, consequently, finance decent life conditions for citizens, in the first place, and the capacity to develop new innovations, in second.

Where did industries go?

Talent, venture capital, knowledge and institutional support policies are essential in this process. However, new businesses, when their size increases, tend to abandon the city in what appears to be a mutual interest: they can get cheaper land to expand and better access to transport infrastructures, while cities avoid the disturbances of pollution, goods delivery and noise, and liberate urban land for higher revenue uses. Continue reading


Internet de tus cosas

IoYTPara que el futuro se haga realidad, lo primero que debemos hacer es contarlo. En OpenYourCity nos gusta imaginar, contar, escribir y construir la ciudad en la que nos gustará vivir en el futuro. Además del urbanismo, juega un papel fundamental la tecnología. El éter que todo lo impregna y amalgama.

En los últimos años, hemos vivido una transformación en la que los ordenadores que aparecieron de forma esporádica, se han multiplicado entrando en los hogares. Se han conectado entre sí creando redes, permitiendo que nos comunicásemos de las formas más diversas y rompiendo las reglas emisor-receptor. Continue reading


How to face globalization (IV). Changes at work. The urban jiu-jitsu

jiujitsuPrevious post: How to face globalization (III). Cities that empower children

We have addressed so far how cities are producing a new politics and are nurturing home-grown talent to tackle some of the threats that globalization poses. It’s about time to examine closer how this relates to changes in the global labour market.

Even social scientists do not agree on their interpretation of the effects that globalization causes over income distribution and polarization in cities. Saskia Sassen alerts against acute polarization as a consequence of globalization, while Chris Hamnett carefully refutes some of Sassen’s points about marginality, arguing that, instead, what is happening in western cities is a gradual shift upwards in terms of social position and opportunities. This thesis would essentially agree with the view expressed by Edward Glaeser in his work “The triumph of the city”, defining cities as our best creation and something that “makes us richer and smarter”. Undeniably, something works definitely well in cities that keeps attracting more and more people century after century (with the exception of the middle age ruralization period), something that has to do with what Glaeser and Hamnett have detected: the opportunities to live better. Continue reading