Soundings

Joel Kotkin
Urban Eagles
Winter 1996

The growth of cyberspace has generated much hype about “lone eagles”—people who telecommute from the remote climes of Colorado, Vermont, or other Valhallan paradises. Author George Gilder goes so far as to predict “the death of cities” as new technology instantaneously transmits the knowledge, entertainment, and variety of urban life everywhere on the globe. With lone eagles nesting in the Rockies, Appalachians, or Sierras, Gilder suggests, cities will rot into pestilential sinkholes.

The facts belie Gilder’s gloomy forecast. According to a study by the newsletter Edge City News, the highest percentage of lone eagles actually dwell in or near big cities. The top ten locales for home-based workers include three in the metropolitan New York area (midtown and downtown Manhattan and Greenwich, Connecticut) and three in the Los Angeles area (Calabasas, Century City/Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica). The remaining four are Austin, Texas; Berkeley, California; downtown San Diego; and the Washington, D.C., suburbs of Bethesda and Chevy Chase, Maryland.

By making it possible for entrepreneurs to work in their homes and remain physically close to customers, suppliers, and urban amenities, cities turn out to be the ideal habitat for lone eagles.
 

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