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    Jul 20 2011: I just love this, Paul, "too many 'specialists' involved' - we need a new generation of experts.
    Why small communities, and why The Nova Town model should be built in an area outside any city's vicinity? It cannot be built inside any existing development that restricts Sustainable infrastructure and design. (Nova Town's idea of sustainability will be killed if it is forced to use municipal water, electricity and other utilities.)

    There is a great number of superb benefits that small independent sustainable communities/towns have, compared with most existing urban communities.

    Less crime.
    Less traffic and road accidents.
    Diversity of meaningful jobs and businesses, serving real consumers, and their actual needs.
    Better education and more personal attention to students.
    Better healthcare and more attention to patients.
    Fresh organic produce grown on premises.
    Less pollution, and much more...

    When small communities interact among themselves, developed as constellations, they learn to support one another, exchange knowledge, skills and some productions or services.

    When a small community/society has been built based upon very strict political, religious, or any other kind of extreme beliefs and social practicing, they shall respect basic law prohibiting any force applied toward any other communities, or their members.

    Are we against big industries or systems? The answer is No. If such industries and systems provide helpful public services, excluding dictating and manipulating market demand, and if they remain flexible and adjustable within our non-stop changing environment, they can be very supportive in many ways, especially during an emergency or crisis.
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      Jul 21 2011: I have recently read in The Logic of Life (Tim Harford) that the majority of inovative ideas and methods have emerged from large cities because there are a lot more people talking to each other sharing ideas, cross polinating ideas across different disciplines and industries.

      One question is whether the internet can enable people in small communities to overcome their intellectual, social, artistic, and practical isolation to a degree that it would make larger cities less necessary.
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        Jul 22 2011: I agree with You saying " the internet can enable people in small communities to overcome their intellectual, social, artistic, and practical isolation to a degree that it would make larger cities less necessary."

        But do disagree with Tim Harford. Please read my comment above! Thank you.
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        Jul 22 2011: Certainly internet and mobile communications are an enabler of flexible living and working.

        You might be interested in Edward Glaesers book - The Triumph of the City. On the particular point you make about the value of technology, Glaeser contends that the internet has made the spectacular growth of cities like Bangalore possible. But his key point here is that the city becomes more effective as a result of those technologies, but they do not substitute for effective proximity that drives innovation in cities.....

        Today I am working from a small ,300 year old cottage in rural Devon, England. Its enabling me to sustain this conversation and keep track of the other aspects of my job. I would question my ability to sustain effective, productive work on the range of complex issues and challenges associated with my job without the ability to work in and travel to cities.... I make the point only by means of an illustration that technology enables that which we already do - maybe enhances it. But it does not substitute face to face engagement and communications.....
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          Jul 22 2011: Adam, this is a great point. One good example is the geographic concentration of internet and tech giants in the Silicon Valley. It's not just about sharing ideas, but also people working in one company, then splitting off to start something new, and gathering other people they know in the area. And in this case, in theory it all could happen online since many of the products are digital services, but it doesn't.
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          Jul 23 2011: The internet has made it possible for me to work from home quite a bit. But my work does not require a lot of interaction of physical presence at the job site. I was working at home about 4 days per week, but I still needed to go in to the ofiice about once a week to complete work that needed to be done at the office. Now, that I have an intern, I am going to the office almost every day in order to interact with my intern. So, it seems that even a job like mine that allows one to avoid commuting most of the time still ties me to the city.

          I think people congregate in cities because that is where the most work is. In a two income family, it becomes even more difficult to break the ties with a particular city. When we retire, we may have more flexibility, but only if we are willing to move away from our children who will then be tied to the city by their work.

          I like Simone's idea of better planned communities, but I wonder about whether it is plausible to really separate them from cities rather than incorporate them into cities and suburbs. I also am leary of isolating communities to the extent that they become separate tribes unto themselves. The city has helped us to expand empathy. That is one value we should cherish.
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          Jul 23 2011: It could be, but just with the data exchange, not for real job with the hands on the material...maybe its possible that new technologies improve some aspects from the day to day work,
    • Jul 24 2011: Urbanization also concentrates the impact of humans, making a smaller footprint possible, and makes some economies of scale and proximity possible - such as mass transit.

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