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Cities Startup Culture

Portland’s Startup Renaissance

People have come and gone from Portland, Ore., but in the past decade more have come and stayed. Today, Portland is seeing a startup renaissance, made more apparent by this month’s Portland Digital eXperience and XOXO Conference. The city has become a forum where people share ideas they hope could redefine the local economy in the next 5-10 years.   More

Business Cities

Friedman vs. Florida, or How to Thrive in a World Both Flat and Spiky

The regional effect of technological advancement and globalization is a widely studied and hotly contested topic. Thomas Friedman’s renowned book, The World is Flat, argues that globalization and technological advancement have leveled the playing field in terms of commerce—that location is less and less important. These technologies, Friedman writes, have contributed to the meteoric rise of the Indian and Chinese middle class and will continue to decrease barriers to international flows of goods and knowledge.   More

Cities

Reimagining Detroit

Where most of us see abandoned lots and vacant buildings, Jerry Paffendorf sees a blank canvas. Paffendorf drove me around Detroit when I was there last week for the Techonomy conference. In the video above (shot and edited on my iPad, thank you very much), he takes me on a tour of Detroit, land use, and Chia houses. During this tour, he explains how he thinks the Internet, data, and crowdfunding can help not just reimagine Detroit, but redevelop it.   More

Cities

Ghosts Of Detroit

What draws creative types to Detroit? It's all the possibilities. I got a tour of the city yesterday from Jerry Paffendorf, a local resident and entrepreneur I met on Twitter. Paffendorf is the co-founder of Loveland Technologies, a startup with grand ambitions to help citizens reclaim their neighborhoods and redevelop plots of land. In the video above, he explains why he left New York City and Silicon Valley for Detroit.   More

Business Cities

Why Techonomy Detroit?

People keep asking, "Why are you doing a Techonomy conference in Detroit?" We're known for our invite-only annual retreat in the desert near Tucson. So why, you may wonder, is our first one-day event in a gritty, depressed, financially-troubled city that seems well past its glory?   More

Cities

Is Detroit the Next Berlin?

After the fall of the Wall in 1989, Berlin had very cheap housing and industrial space, some in spectacularly grand old buildings. Years of division—with repressive communist rule on one side of town and isolation and economic stagnation on the other—had left the city depressed and underpopulated. Reunification initially only made things worse, as uncompetitive Eastern-side state-owned factories closed en masse.   More

Cities

Fast Company Names Detroit an Underrated Hotbed of Innovation

Here’s another reason to be excited for Techonomy’s Detroit conference next Wednesday, Sept. 12. Fast Company has included Detroit in its list of “10 Underrated Hotbeds of American Innovation,” highlighting the “gonzo spirit” of Detroit Labs, a startup that builds mobile applications for big clients like Chevrolet. Fast Company already wrote about Detroit Labs in August, pinpointing its success on a policy that allows employees to “futz around,” devoting one day a week to personal projects.   More

Cities

Will Tech Save the First Western Post-Industrial City?

"If Detroit is on the brink of a revival, it’s technology that is proving to be the leading driver of job creation and economic growth," writes Detroit-based marketing exec Alex Southern for GrowDetroit. Southern's "if" acknowledges the pessimism some or his readers expressed last year in a survey about their hometown's prospects for recovery.   More

Cities

Space Counts: Why Physical Flows Matter in an Increasingly Virtual World

The world is changing faster than ever and sometimes it feels as though the only way to keep pace is to remain glued to our computer screens. Twitter and Facebook have become our go-to source for breaking news, more often than not beating traditional media to the story. Teleconferencing and social software have enabled a truly 24-hour workday, helping us collaborate with team members around the world without ever leaving the home office. And as our virtual lives have shrunk to fit neatly into our pockets, we remain online regardless of where we go.   More