Gainesville and Alachua County seem to have a love affair with antiquated technologies: wood-burning power plant, bus mass transit, light rail studies, trolley cars, bike lanes. These are all huge infrastructure costs; all bets against the proliferation of lower power devices, telecommuting, the freedom that the private automobile brings, and many people’s preference for riding their bikes on the sidewalks.
When I ask, “Are we the next Detroit?” I don’t mean it in a good way. I mean that we can learn from cities that made investments that didn’t pay off. Please listen to this podcast. Save it to your hard drive and put it on your iPod, or just let it play while you are working on other things, like improving your score on Angry Birds.
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Edward Glaeser of Harvard University and author of The Triumph of Cities talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about American cities. The conversation begins with a discussion of the history of Detroit over the last century and its current plight. What might be done to improve Detroit’s situation? Why are other cities experiencing similar challenges to those facing Detroit? Why are some cities thriving and growing? What policies might help ailing cities and what policies have helped those cities that succeed? The conversation concludes with a discussion of why cities have such potential for growth.