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Urban metabolism

I spent this morning in the suburbs bouncing around to a few different meetings. I then came back downtown so that I could get some actual work done in the office. And then after that, I was around downtown getting a bunch of different things done.

I am mentioning this to you all because today I was reminded of how different the metabolic rate can feel in the city compared to the suburbs. There are even studies suggesting that people walk faster in larger cities.

Some businesses, of course, require a lot of space and the economics simply do not work in the core of the city. We all get that. But if you’re competitive advantage is human capital, then this is something to think about.

I feel like I spent most of my morning driving around, which I’m not complaining about, except that I could have probably had 3x as many meetings in the city during that same period of time. If you multiply that out over time, then we’re talking about a material spread in overall productivity.

And we haven’t even touched on those fortuitous urban encounters, which do happen and do provide all sorts of benefits. As much as we’re all connected like never before – through things like, well, this blog – there’s nothing like shaking somebody’s hand and looking them in the eyes.

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