Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Is technological evolution “de-agglomerating” cultural innovation?

Posted 07 Oct 2015 / 0

NPR Morning EditionAre Big Cities Still A Primary Engine For Scientific Innovation?

The geography that is explored in this short piece is interesting to me: proximity used to be a pre-requisite for exchanging ideas, which led to creative centers for particular industries. Now that access to information is largely decoupled from geographical location, the need for creative centers might be decreasing. This is all part of a greater democratization of culture propagation and creation that has been taking place over the past few decades.

It is not just access to information that has made geographical location less tied to cultural contribution: one could similarly argue that access to tools has been largely decoupled from geography. If you wanted to learn how to edit films forty years ago, you likely had to go to one of a few areas where the facilities for doing these edits were readily available (not to mention needing the rather obscure expertise to edit films with razor blades and tape!). Now most computers and even some phones come equipped with easy-to-use software that makes creating a video possible for many more people in many more places. Technological cultural evolution is changing the geographical properties of cultural creation.

A Minor Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Radio & Podcasts, Sociology

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