can Wellington become a global tech hub? raised an interesting question, how big does a city need to be in order to be successful in the new economy?
Does a compact city with a few hundred thousand people have an advantage over several million inhabitants sprawling across a huge metropolis?
The romantic view is the smaller cities should prevail but history, particularly given the wide sprawl of Silicon Valley, indicates the opposite.
While Silicon Valley, and most of the other Twentieth Century industrial hubs like Detroit, were sprawling conurbations it may be this era’s centres are more compact with towns being walkable.
Certainly this is what we’re seeing with the tech industry’s shift into San Francisco as workers find they’d rather walk or cycle to work than spend hours on freeways each day.
So it may be the newer breed of businesses and industries that don’t need massive infrastructure also don’t need to sprawl.
If that turns out to be true then cities like Wellington could do well.