I’ve often had an internal complaint about modern-day big cities. I see all the issues with them (high cost of living, unemployment, underdeveloped infrastructure, etc.) as entirely man-made. There was a time when location was critical to a business and there was no option but to crowd. For example, if you are moving large quantities of material it is beneficial to be close to a body of water for cheap transportation. If you sell lumber, then being close to a large forest where you can cut wood is also imperative.
Let’s take a look at the tech hub San Francisco. There is almost no reliance on the natural resources of the area. All of the desire to move there is intellectual rather than physical.
It wasn’t until I was working on a project budget that I understood a big advantage to a big city. If I have a small project, I cannot afford to have specialists in each discipline full-time. Furthermore, I must pay a premium to have those specialists support less than full-time. How does this translate to a big city? Food!
I love 拉面 or “la mian” – hand pulled noodles which are very common in China. In the US, I am a minority for this. I cannot personally fund a noodle shop with just my love for noodles. So, what happens if there are millions of people around me? All of the individual desires add up so we can have la mian, dim sum, shawarma, crepes, sushi, and so on. So, based on how hungry I am, I am more understanding of big cities now…