....We’re both happier and more productive when we’re interacting with other people in person. And so high-density development patterns have the same kind of productivity-enhancing benefits that free trade does. Tall buildings, walkable neighborhoods, and a good transit system reduce the average cost of face-to-face interaction in exactly the same way that steam ships and low tariffs reduced the average costs of shipping goods to the other side of the world. In both cases, the result is greater wealth, on a per-capita basis.
....we’re just coming out of a half-century in which the benefits of density were severely underestimated. For decades, urban planners pursued policies that systematically undermined our cities. Limits on density destroy wealth in exactly the same way that limits on free trade do. There’s a lot of work to be done to allow cities to reach their full wealth-creating potential.
28 September 2011