City Journal Winter 2016

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Edward L. Glaeser
Start-Up City « Back to Story

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star up city the tittle is fantastic. i very interesting about this. i hope we are can be sharing about urban economic model. city past future for next generation. please..introduce from me, Jakarta-Indonesia. Lia Kian (Male)
RealityBetraysus May 10, 2012 at 6:46 PM
I wonder what the author would think the economic pressure of rising gas-fuel prices will do the economic effects of city life? Will we as Americans become more like China trying to get around on bikes in a urban environment when living far apart in suburbs becomes economically impractical due to fuel costs? What economic and social effects will result as people determine that they have to live closer together and can no longer afford 50 mile or more commutes? I know my dad lived on Long Island and worked in the city (NY) because the train was such an easy travel solution. Will more US cities have to become like NY to survive the cost of fuel?
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Where are the NEW IDEAS? Please name ONE.
Where are the NEW IDEAS? Please name ONE.
If Jane Jacobs indeed used the word "preservation" in this context, it was nevertheless apparent to me when I read her many years ago that she was not talking about "historical preservation" as we understand it today, but rather the *retention* (i.e. preservation) of older, cheaper real estate which would help foster just the sort of entrepreneurial spirit this article champions. She was not opposed to "urban change" in general - as long as the result maintained the diversity of primary uses she argued for.

Otherwise, fascinating and worthwhile article.
Whatever else its merits, the article's spiteful little blurb is a serious mis-representation of Richard Florida's work. Either the author hasn't actually read RF, or else he's purposefully getting it wrong. To characterize Florida's thesis that what innovative and competitive cities need are merely bike paths and good music scenes is absurd; and sad.
Regarding the Jane Jacobs reference ("New ideas need old buildings"), I think what she mainly had in mind when she wrote it were 1950s "slum clearing" urban renewal planners who didn't understand the economics of, along with perhaps even the need for, start-up businesses and the benefits of functional and cheap, even if somewhat dilapited and unsightly, real estate. Many planners were first and foremost in the business of beautifying things and didn't care all that much about the consequences of their actions for small businesses. Besides, her sentence only makes sense in the context of older cities and she obviously wasn't against building new structures when older structures didn't exist in the first place.

Having said that, it is true that Jacobs always had a tough time understanding the relationship between real estate supply and prices and that many people she influenced suffer from NIMBYism and believe that they are entitled to keep things the way they are because it is THEIR neighborhood, new potential residents be damned.
Sugar is still big business in New York... a bottle of Coca Cola can cost close to $5.

I am a small business owner in Minnesota and I just had my first trip to NYC... and just got my VISA bill! I can't imagine what it costs to live there, let alone pay people to live and work there.
A privilege to read your article. thank you.
Hi Danny,

Take a look at Raleigh/Durham, the North Atlanta suburbs (Alpharetta), and Austin. All make it easy to open a business, run a business, have a low cost of living, high quality of life, great schools and great weather.
That flight from LGA to Frankfurt is going to be a really long wait. I'd suggest JFK instead. Otherwise, nice piece
Bravo. Seriously, Bravo!

I am more than just an aspiring entrepreneur. I am one, and I consider myself to be very successful. And as we speak, my business is growing at a rate that will require about 14 full time positions with excellent pay within the next year, and hoping to employ about 80 people within the next 2 years. Since nobody wants to come to Idaho, I am trying to go to them. I am currently in the location selection process, and I have been narrowing down the list of cities where I am going to go.

I would absolutely LOVE to go to NYC. It is exciting, fast paced, and fun. The right talent is definitely abundant. But I'm not going to go there.

Taxes are only a small part of the problem...not invisible, but a 3rd or 4th order deterrent. The real significant problem is regulation. I'm not anti-regulation at all...but the regulatory barriers to operating a business (even a high tech business that doesn't have to worry about public safety or environmental regulations) are simply too high and too burdensome. Compliance costs are too high, and approvals are too slow. I refuse to let my business go unmanaged for 6 months while I try to personally navigate the bureaucratic hell that is New York City.

I ran into very similar problems with San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.

Interestingly, right before I read this article, I had narrowed my search to the following cities: Dallas, Houston, Salt Lake City, and Pittsburgh. They are all cities that seem to understand exactly what you are saying...and judging from their growth rates, I'm not the only one who has noticed.
New York has some tremendous and obvious assets.

However from the outside (I live in the Southeast) you look very uncompetitive in terms of attracting the kinds of new businesses that this article claims that you seek. Here are your issues:

1) Your taxes are too high. Both your State and Local taxes are tremendous barriers to starting a new company in NYC.

2) Your public schools are awful. In many parts of the country you can get a nice house for $300K, pay $3K a year in property taxes and get a great public school education for your kids.

3) Your politics are in the grip of unions. We are a right to work state. Making it easy to fire people makes it easy to hire people. Your polices are the opposite.

4) Your housing costs are outrageous. Not much you can do about that except perhaps eliminate rent control and usher in a new building boom of affordable apartments and condo's.

Go compare yourself with Austin Texas. You could learn a lot. No State or local income taxes, good schools, friendly regulatory environment, no unions, right to work laws, etc.
September 21, 2010

Dear Mr. Obama,

As I’ve said before I’m a born and bred capitalist. Born, because I was fortunate enough to be born an American, and bred because I was fortunate enough to have parents that worked hard to make sure I could survive, and if at all possible thrive. Not so with you, but that is another story. Regardless, one of the false notions that you seem to labor under is that business and entrepreneurs will not respond to asinine regulatory or tax policy. Speaking from my own local experience you are absolutely wrong.

Case in point. My local GM dealer is gone. Washed away by CAFE standards, lucrative Union contracts, and the hold up by your administration accomplished against the bond holders. To add insult to injury you used the public treasury to buy used cars that still had useful life, with a treasury I remind you that has no money, other than what hostile foreign powers will lend us. Also, I’ve got lots of houses near me I’d like to buy and fix up, maybe sell them, and make a profit. I’m a handy guy. The fly in the ointment here is that I can’t predict what I’ll be forced to do at point of sale or the point of a government gun - so I do nothing. In addition, there is piece of property near me that is a prime spot for a home style burger joint, it is near a school, alcohol license is not an issue for me, but the law is. First, the liability of opening those doors to even serve my first burger is insurmountable. Then, there are the employees, and the burden that the state of New York and Federal government puts on the business owner. Again before I’ve even invested a dime my idea is dust.

You see people are smart. That is why you construct these laws so that small business can’t be started in the first place unless they are visible enough to tax, track, and abuse through never ending attack of regulatory agencies, such that they don’t want to hire anyone even if they can get more profit out of the choice; essentially the unknown risk of government far exceeds any benefit reaching for that next piece of business is worth. So my money sits, and my pile shrinks due to inflation, and no reward for saving other then survival. This is what creates the “beans and hot dog” environment that that government worker was eluding to at the CNBC town hall.

I understand a pinko like your self thinks that one day I’ll wake up and forget all of this and go pursue my dreams, but keep dreaming. I’m rational and so is anyone with money. “A fool and his money are soon parted” and there is nothing more foolish than Big Government with a printing press in charge of a welfare state with open borders! You see, I know that a government agent, a tax authority, a regulator, union official, or “obamacare” is just waiting to destroy me. So why open my doors, on an individual basis, in the first place? Someone once asked me why do corporations give to both parties - I told them straight out - protection money. Who do they need protection from? The government. Who do they pay? The government. Do you understand now why I’m writing more now than ever? I’m tried of the racket and so are the American people.

On November 2, 2010 we will, at least for a time, put it to a stop. If those newly elected join with you in the government mafia, well, we will just have to do this all over again in 2012, 2014, 2016 . . . again, you may own the clocks, but we’ve got the time.


Joe Doakes
After six years of struggling here and shouldering the stiff taxes, I am moving my corporation out of NY and NYC.
Havemeyer money funded the Metropolitian Museum of Art and the Shelbourne in Vermont.