Take It from a Nobel Prize Winner…

One of the Nobel Prize winners this year in economics, Paul M. Romer, was honored for his work explaining the role of ideas in fostering economic growth.

According to the New York Times, “Mr. Romer’s big idea was to argue that policymakers could foster technological innovation, for example, by investing in research and development.”

Where does growth come from?

On his website, Romer explains: “At the most basic level, an economy grows whenever people take resources and rearrange them in a way that makes them more valuable.”

Romer is a big advocate of urbanization as a means for economic growth and driving development. While he hasn’t specifically addressed streetcars, Romer does say one of the keys to successful urbanization is planning.

Romer also says “there is much that economists and policy makers need to learn about the causal connections between GDP growth and growth in the urban share. It is also very important to understand which other policies complement faster urbanization.”

How will 7.8 billion people get around?

2.6 billion people currently live in cities around the world – and Romer predicts in 100 years, that number could be tripled.

Now is the time to plan for denser, more urban cities – and a robust public transportation system, including streetcars, is an important piece of that puzzle.


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