We have recently moved the
Creative Class Exchange.

Please update your bookmarks with our new address at www.creativeclass.com

We look forward to your comments and discussion.

Thank you.

Posts by Author

  • Global Trends
  • Ask Rana: Advice on Work, Life and Play
  • Urban Digs, Creative Class Communities
  • Workplace
  • Entrepreneurship, Creative Class Strategies
  • Creative Class Research and Indicators
  • Architecture + Design

Video Interview

Watch a Speech

Hear a Speech




October 26, 2007

« Long and Short of It | Main | The Creative Class is Spiky »

Great piece by John Gapper over at the Financial Times on "NyLon" - the twin "city-states" of New York City and London.

NyLon is also part of the phenomenon of the city state. Coastal and entrepôt cities around the world are outgrowing the nations that contain them. Dubai and other Emirates states are reinventing themselves as financial centres and a token of Shanghai’s rapid growth was the appointment this week of Xi Jinping, one of the city’s leaders, to the ruling Chinese politburo. Meanwhile, New York’s fortunes have decoupled from the US in the past year or two. Home prices have plunged in California and Las Vegas but have kept rising in Manhattan and, while the US economy grew by only 0.7 per cent in the first quarter of the year, New York City’s economy grew by 4 per cent.

Our own research confirms this. So, hot off the press here's a link to our new research identifying the 40 mega-regions that truly drive the world economy.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Rise of the the Mega-Regions:



I've only had a chance to skim the report (and plan to read it in detail later as I really liked how you distinguished population agglomerations from economic powerhouses), so maybe you did cover this and I missed this:

in multi-national mega regions like Cascadia, do you address how integrated the economies really are?

Yes, Seattle and Vancouver might be known for the same sort of economy (and culture), but are the two really intertwined? Many of the major technology employers, for example, are interconnected with Silicon Valley in California rather than Seattle and Portland. I'm thinking of Electronic Arts and Business Objects (being acquired by SAP) in particular. Of course, the new Microsoft facility may represent a large move toward integration.

It's not that easy for people to move back and forth across the border -- and even harder to legally work once you're on the other side. This needs to change, but unfortunately US lawmakers are passing laws to make it more difficult, not less.

Michael Wells

Great stuff. I love seeing Jacob's theories about cities preceding agriculture referred to. Has that idea gained any ground in academia? I read the book years ago and then it just disappeared.

A quibble on the Cascadia reference on page 17 of the Megaregions, which seems pretty Seattle-centric. "The Cascadia corridor stretches
up from Portland, Oregon through Seattle and into Vancouver, Canada. It is also strong in technology-based industry, particularly with regard to software publishing and aerospace manufacturing, but the region also specializes in lifestyle industries. Microsoft, Amazon, Real Networks, Starbucks, REI, and Costco all have their roots in this mega-region." All Seattle companies. In technology-based industry I would add microchip manufacturing and in lifestyle Nike and Columbia Sportswear. There are probably some in Vancouver as well. I'd probably stretch Cascadia south to include Corvallis and Eugene, but realize you're looking at the major cities.


Don't forget to clean it up. The statement that that LRP of Shanghai was $130 trillion (yes, trillion) was a little off.


Michael -- thanks for the comment on the Seattle focus for examples. I wasn't sure if Cosco was a Seattle or Portland company, but that's what I was getting at as well. Mentioning Vancouver as the half-home of Electronic Arts could further his point (EA has the world's largest video game production studio/campus in the suburb of Burnaby) -- a new economy company if there ever was one!

On lifestyle companies, the Canadian equivalent of REI, MEC (mountain equipment co-op whose products are ubiquitous in Canada) also came from Vancouver. And watch the global rise of Vancouver-based Lululemon right now, which makes yoga-inspired fashionable sportswear (Nike or some bigger fish will probably try to buy them soon). Global resort developer and operator Intrawest also emerged from Vancouver -- they sell lifestyles when they sell condos.

Gary Dare

Greetings from Portland, Oregon! Until a couple of years ago, I spent my life in the Central and Eastern time zones. While "back east" (from here, Chicago and Toronto are 'back east'), I heard of "Cascadia" from time to time but now on the west coast, I wonder "where is it?" I see a Vancouver Canuck highlight from time to time on NWCN (regional cable news), rarely on local sports (KGW, KATU, KOIN, etc.), maybe once a month. No mention of the BC Lions. The Olympics in 2010, the tone usually comes across as how OR and WA can get a piece of that pie. I think that the artificial nation-state border is a stronger concept than we realize, in shaping our day to day focus and attitudes.

Michael R. Bernstein

Note that although 'home' prices are falling here in Las Vegas, this has had little to no affect on the booming luxury loft highrise market (effectively trying to duplicate Manhattan here). A mirror of the national market as a whole, the real estate market in Las Vegas is increasingly bipolar, and the middle class is being wiped out.


I would like to suggest a tweak to a couple of your regions. I am very familiar with the Houston economy, and I can pretty much guarantee you that for every one tie we might have to New Orleans or points east in the conceptual "Hou-Orleans" region, there are 10 or more ties to the other cities in the Texas Triangle. Southwest Airlines got their start shuttling that triangle, and they still do a booming business there. The number of daily flights between Houston and the other Texas cities dwarfs the flights to New Orleans. Whenever businesses expand here, the first thing they do is open locations in the other Texas Triangle cities. It's just too easy and makes too much sense, with no need to contend with a new set of state laws.

I personally know several people that straddle their business between Austin and Houston, which are only a 2.5 hour drive apart, vs. six hours from Houston to New Orleans.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas even published a series of reports on the "Texas Triangle Megalopolis", showing that each city had complimentary and usually noncompetitive industry clusters:

An excerpt:
"Combining Houston’s port, Dallas’ inland distribution function, San Antonio’s reach into deep South Texas and northern Mexico, and even the state’s political capital into one place could have produced a Third Coast megalopolis to rival New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The previous article also suggested that the Triangle cities did not develop independently, as proximity forced them to seek out roles that complemented economic strengths developing elsewhere in the Triangle. Where one city was strong, the others would be weak, so the cities’ mature industrial structures could fit together neatly, like pieces of a puzzle, with little overlap. A comparison of the cities’ strengths indicated such industrial complementarity exists, and statistical tests strongly confirmed the apparent complementarity is no illusion."

The true mega-region is the Texas Triangle. If you feel it necessary to extend it to include NOLA, so be it, but it is certainly a minor appendage to the region, with no more of a case than OKC, Tulsa, Corpus Christi, or the Brownsville-McAllen border region have.


Great stuff all. I have a big mega-region chapter in the book, which I am doing final revisions to now. So this is all HUGELY helpful. Thanks a ton.

Michael R. Bernstein

You're welcome.

The comments to this entry are closed.