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“The worrying thing about this is that we live in an asymmetrical world, where just a few companies and public institutions know a lot about us, while we know little about them,” — Carlo Ratti, MIT Senseable City Lab

Among the changes ushered in by the 21st century, perhaps the most surprising — as rapid as it has been disorienting — has been the revitalization of cities.

In the last two decades, plummeting crime rates, growing populations, and real estate markets fueled by inflows of global capital have transformed expectations of urban growth that had been all but abandoned for two generations. In the 21st century cities have become the engines of economic growth; by 2050 there will be 2.5 billion more people living in cities globally than there are today, and the world’s 100 largest urban centers will account for 35% of global GDP growth between now and 2025. And growing inequality among cities is a symbol for society’s challenges overall; in the United States, wealthy coastal cities are becoming privileged havens of freedom, whereas the fates of smaller inland cities are far less certain. …

About

Daniel Leslie

Managing Partner, @reflexions. Contributor, Huffington Post. Technology, data journalism, social justice.

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