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Old 04-24-2016, 12:03 PM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,351 posts, read 116,315,456 times
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Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
I wanted to be fair, and I had a lazy Sunday morning available, so I re-read the article. It makes one glancing negative reference to the suburbs:

That bolded portion is as negative as it gets about the suburbs. The rest of the time, references to the suburbs are in the context of suburban offices. And, really, that makes sense because the main argument of the article is that new suburban campuses are little different from the campuses of the 1940s and 1950s, and in so doing, describes the development of suburban campuses, why companies went that route, the weaknesses of their logic for doing so, and the issues those campuses create for the communities they are a part of. While it's easy to draw parallels to the suburbs, generally, doing so is left entirely up to the reader.

Meanwhile, it barely references cities. It spends one paragraph talking about how major industrial cities changed at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. It also only has one paragraph that talks about cities in the bright light of connectivity and community.
One major difference now is that public transportation in most cities, at least the ones I'm familiar with, goes out to the burbs, particularly to office parks. Perhaps it didn't in the 40s and 50s. I wouldn't know; I wasn't around but for 7 months of the 40s, in the 50s, everyone in my milieu worked in a steel mill. US Steel did have its HQs in downtown Pittsburgh. Some of the others weren't even HQd there. I know by the early 70s, there was plenty of train connection from the Chicago suburbs to downtown Chicago. Here in Denver, it is fairly easy to get to the office parks on public transit.

Example: Interlocken Business Park Service
Every half hour from 6:16 AM to 9:16 AM, then hourly until 3:17 PM, then half hourly again until 8:17. Transfers are free.

Google is a fairly new company, started in 1997. Yet they try to keep people in the office all day and well into the evening. Not much "encontering" of anyone who doesn't work at Google. They even feed their employees.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:13 PM
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Because that is where their workforce usually is, duh.
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Old 05-01-2016, 03:58 PM
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In some cities, downtown is strongly preferred by much of the labor force, whether that's for transit, lifestyle, or whatever. In other cities, that might be a lesser factor or the reverse.

In some industries, the ability to recruit the best and brightest is essential, whether 20-somethings fresh from college or experienced execs. Or they don't need the superstars but they need access to a decent labor force of us regular folks. Locating downtown is often for that reason, which they frequently are very open about.

The best and brightest (and many of the rest of us) tend to be better able to afford living in those healthy urban cores.

Put that all together and companies are willing to go to great lengths to stay in (or move into) the strong cores, like Chicago, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston.

"Great lengths" might mean paying $10 or $20 per square foot per year more for office space. That sounds like a lot but it isn't for a lot of companies, compared to redefining their access to talent. Even $20 might mean $4,000 per year difference per employee, a pittance for a firm with $100,000+ in compensation and benefits per person.

Then there are the proximity aspects. Lots of industries like to cluster and interbreed, like tech, particularly in the startup "ecosystem" and certain product types. Biotech too, with the added dimension that a big research university should also be nearby. Law likes to be near clients and courts. Construction companies (like my employer) like to be near architects and clients so we're all downtown too.
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