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    Sep 20 2013: I think great cities are somewhat like great research universities - they take centuries to develop and are pretty robust at the end of this long and challenging process of establishment. If you run through the great cities of the world - New York, Tokyo, Paris, London, Beijing, Hong Kong - they have hundreds of years of history. Interestingly, several of them have been physically devastated one or more times, so this doesn't seem to be about physical infrastructure, etc., but about cultural institutions (both formal and informal). And, cities seem to follow a power distribution, so the most important cities are going to be wildly more influential and impactful than cities even 0.5x or 0.25x (perhaps I'm just hopelessly biased as a New York).

    Why is all this important? Because it's unclear to me whether the right question is "how do you develop new cities?" or "how do you make the cities we have more inclusive, more sustainable, more just?" As you said in one of your other comments, there's no fixed limit on how large a city can be, so it's unclear that growing the cities we already have is better or worse from a population affected perspective than propping up new ones. But, this kind of orientation would lead you to a very different set of action steps.

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