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Even Internet-Age Companies Need Ferment of City: Edward Glaeser

Over the past month, we have heard reports that UBS AG may move the staff of its U.S. investment bank from Stamford, Connecticut, to Manhattan by 2015. The Boston Globe recently reported that Biogen Idec Inc. is bringing its headquarters and more than 500 jobs back to Cambridge, Massachusetts, from Weston, where it moved less than a year ago. And Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. will build a publishing team in New York, with the help of a former publisher and literary agent, Laurence Kirshbaum.

The common theme of these stories is that cities and spatial proximity still matter in the Internet Age. Amazon.com specializes in long-distance salesmanship, but when it comes to producing intellectual content, it wants a physical footprint in New York City, right at the center of America’s publishing cluster.