Immigrants, Apples and Successful Cities
Friday night I was in Baltimore for the Lil' Wayne concert. I didn't actually go to the concert; I watched it with the Baltimore ...
Friday night I was in Baltimore for the Lil' Wayne concert. I didn't actually go to the concert; I watched it with the Baltimore police. But this post isn't about what happened Friday night (you can read about that in the May issue of Governing). It's about what happened Saturday morning.
I awoke late, went downstairs, and ask the doorman where in the Monument Square area I could get a bagel and a cup of good coffee. She directed me to the charming City Cafe, basically your classic urban hipster-writer hangout except for one thing: No one there had an Apple laptop.
This was strange. At similar places in Santa Monica or Brooklyn, Macbooks are everywhere. But not here. I'd seen the same Mac absence in Cleveland last fall. That's when it hit me: Cities such as Baltimore and Cleveland are struggling because people there don't use Macs.
At this point, you're probably thinking: He's crazy! Macs don't make cities richer; it's just that creative types in wealthy communities like (and are willing to pay more for) Macs.
Economists have a term for this error -- endogeneity. As much as I (a Mac user) hate to say it, Macs probably aren't the variable that has made West Hollywood rich. They're a byproduct of success, not the cause. Which brings me to immigrants.
A favorite new(ish) theory among urban planners is that immigrants -- even illegal immigrants -- make for successful cities. Cities such as New Haven have set up support services for them. Other cities have set up immigrant officers to recruit them.
But do immigrants really cause cities to succeed? Or are immigrants attracted to successful cities? That's an important question. I hope some researcher is examining it -- on a PC or on a Mac.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Michigan Provides a Home for Other States' Unwanted Fracking Waste2 hours ago
States Look to Religious Leaders to Fill Mental Health Gap1 hour ago
Vote on Alaska Oil Tax Too Close to Call38 minutes ago
GOP Keeps Control of Virginia Senate48 minutes ago
Uber Hires Ex-Obama Adviser to Oversee Policy and Strategy58 minutes ago
Judge Blocks Bobby Jindal from Repealing Common Core1 hour ago