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About the Talk

More than a decade after her death in 2006, there is still no urbanist better known today than Jane Jacobs.  Her forceful, penetrating critique of mid-century urban planning in the United States has had a profound and lasting impact globally.  No surprise then that urbanists around the world in 2011 celebrated the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities, lauded by some as among the 100 most influential books of the 20th century.The year 2019 marked another Jacobs milestone:  the 50th anniversary of the publication of what Jacobs considered her favorite book, The Economy of Cities.

But it is a book that few of even her most devoted followers have studied or even read.  Nevertheless, I believe her ideas and insights remain fresh and relevant.  They are fresh where they depart from the mainstream economist’s focus on efficiency and equilibrium, and they are relevant for thinking about economic development based on innovation.  Where The Death and Life of Great American Cities essentially concerns the nature and significance of living cities and why appreciating this demands a radical reorientation and reform of urban planning, The Economy of Cities concerns the nature and mechanics of city-based innovation and economic development, in which the dynamic processes of exporting and importing constitute “two interlocking reciprocating systems.”

About the Speaker

Sanford Ikeda is a professor of economics and coordinator of the Economics Program at Purchase College of the State University of New York, and a research fellow at New York University. He has lectured globally, and has published in Forbes and National Review Online. His scholarly publications have appeared in The Southern Economic JournalThe Review of Austrian EconomicsEnvironmental PoliticsThe American Journal of Economics & SociologyCosmos + TaxisThe Independent Review, and Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines. Dr. Ikeda’s current research focuses on the interconnections among cities, social cooperation, and entrepreneurial development.